Fishing - What It Means To Me

Fishing Stories
Fishing with family

If you were to ask a group of anglers what fishing means to each of them, you would probably get a different reason from each of those anglers. There are loads of reasons why we fish, and when you sit down and think about it, everyone has a meaning and something behind it.

Over the years of my fishing career, I have looked at fishing from all different angles and theories, and they all have had their time and place. What does this mean? I want to give you an idea of what fishing has meant to me over the years.

Back in the early days when I was a kid, a buddy and I often jumped on our bikes and rode to the nearest body of water to wet a line. There were days when many fish were caught, and we were lucky to see a fish.

Some days were spent sitting on the shoreline casting a worm and bobber as far as I could to try and beat my buddies with a bigger fish. We would brag to each other that our fish was bigger than the others. It seemed that everyone had caught huge fish by the end of the day, and the time came for us to make that ride home again. I often wonder where these buddies of my childhood are today. These are memories that I have kept with me all of my life.

Then the days came when my father and grandfather would take me along for a day on the lake in the fourteen-foot boat with the five-horsepower motor on the stern. Panfish have always sought species, and many hours were spent anchored near some shallow weeds, casting a bobber out looking for fish. Dad and Grandpa always told me to stop making so much noise because the fish could hear me, and I was scaring them away.

The three of us spent countless hours on various bodies of water, searching for those meals of fish. If it looked like rain, we would not be caught out there and would head off as fast as that five-horsepower would move us along. These are even more memories I have with me all my life. One day I look forward to meeting with Grandpa again and sharing those wonderful memories of yesteryear. These are memories that I have kept with me all of my life.

Then the day came that I got my driver's license, and I thought, "you fish better watch out now because I am coming to get you." I would hook that old fourteen-foot boat with its five-horsepower motor to my parent's car and head to the lake that I thought would produce those big fish for me. I would fish like there was no tomorrow because I lived through my dreams of watching those guys on TV and what they were doing to help put fish in their boats. My mindset differed from catching panfish like my dad and grandpa had me catching all my youth. Instead, I wanted to catch some of those big bass like they did on TV and dreamed of having all of the latest baits do that job for me. I would cast and cast and pound every target that I could find. I caught fish here and there, and a smile would appear on my face.

After some time spent out on the water fishing the way I wanted to fish, ideas flew through my mind like, "Hey, I bet I could do this for a living like the big boys." I felt that I could go to any body of water and catch fish after fish and that there was no stopping me now. I hoped that these dreams would come true one day. There wouldn't be anything better than fishing for a living. These are memories that I have kept with me all of my life.

So now I was at that point in my life where I was working a real job. The temptations of fishing bass tournaments were on my mind all the time. I took the next step. I bought myself a bass boat and started looking at tournament trails inviting me to fish. I spent hours and days pre-fishing for these tournaments and looking for that sweet spot that would make me famous and put me into the winner's circle.

Many lakes were fished, and many miles were traveled to compete at these levels. I was making friends among the competitors I fished against and was starting to make a name for myself. But, I was not finishing in the standings where I wanted to be, and this started playing mind games every day I was on the water. I was now second-guessing all of your moves, and this dream of wanting to fish for a living is starting to look like it could be better and more promising.

Anytime we start moving towards a passion that we want to become a career, things seem different from what they look like. Getting up in the wee hours of the morning to get to the lake at dawn to start another practice day wasn't as inviting anymore and seemed to be a lot like work. The fun wasn't there anymore. I no longer wanted to fish for a living. It was starting to feel more like work and not play. I was fortunate and am glad I took my shot at professional tournament fishing. Few people have that opportunity.

Since I have that behind me now, my fishing is all about having fun and enjoying spending time on the water. I enjoy hooking my boat up to the truck and picking a lake to fish at, and I don't care (well, I do, a little) if I catch a fish or not. My days on the water now are to get away from the rat race of being an adult, a husband, and a father and use that time to clear my head and get myself back to reality.

I look forward to the days when I can get out and fish with some of my old friends and relive some of the old days that we had together. I also look forward to the days I can take my dad out fishing like he used to take me. He doesn't fish much anymore, and we don't get to fish together that often. These are memories that I have kept with me all of my life, and I try and keep them going forward as each year passes.

Fishing with family

Now are the days that I am genuinely enjoying fishing. I have my kids to take along and show them the art of fishing. My daughter is getting into those teenage years now, so we don't get out much together anymore, but over the last years, we have spent many hours in the boat, just the two of us, and those are the memories that I will be carrying with me as I go forward. Hopefully, the day will come again when she wants to try her hand at fishing again, and I will be there, ready and willing to do that for her.

Now that my son is getting a little older, he has been accompanying me on quite a few adventures as of late. This past winter, he became excited and went on many ice-fishing trips with me. As a six-year-old, he showed this old man how to catch some very nice fish. Just watching his excitement while he is watching the electronics or catching a fish is priceless in my book. He always looks forward to our fishing, and if we last got out a while ago, he starts bugging me, saying we need to go once again.

These are memories that I have kept with me all of my life. I treasure all of these and hope they continue to be made for many years. It is funny how I have come full circle in life. Using what my father and grandfather had taught me on the water, I am teaching my kids the same things. Sure, we now have much bigger boats, all of the fancy electronics, more baits than we will ever use, and more fishing rods/reels that we know what to do with, but we seem to always come back to the basics in whatever we do.

Fishing these days has been much more enjoyable and means so much more to me. I look forward to each trip made to the water, and at the end of the day, fish or not, I know that I had a great day out there. Fishing is not work anymore, but such a favorite pastime that I can spend many hours out there again. If I only have an hour to fish, so be it. I could still do something at that moment that means so much.

Fishing means time to reflect on life, get away from all the hustle and bustle, and spend quality time with family, my kids, and my new and old friends. Once again, there need to be more days that I get to fish. This tells me that my fishing passion is back, stronger than ever.

Get out and enjoy the outdoors and what Mother Nature has given us.