There are many different kinds of Moms in the world. We need to recognize those moms who fish. They may be my mom, your mom, their mom, your wife, the mother of your children, or perhaps your grandmother. Regardless of whose mom she is if she either fishes or supports fishermen without nagging, she is A-OK! In fact, to all those fishing moms: bouquets of roses, standing ovations, and showers of confetti!
While some folks still have a father-and-son mental image when you mention fishing, the truth is that nearly one-third of all anglers in the US today are women. More than 13 million women fish, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The sport easily fits everyone in the family regardless of size, age or stature, so you don't have to have behemoth muscles to catch a fish. It takes more muscles to vacuum the family room than reel in a fish. And once girls and women are exposed to fishing, it always seems the delicate, dainty ones become the most hopelessly addicted.
Moms are discovering fishing is not at all the nasty, smelly old sport some might lead us to believe, but rather a good clean All American sport and glue that bonds families together. Instead of buying children and teens high-priced computer gadgets, games, and toys, the way to a child's heart is more affordably found by reeling it in through a spool of fishing line. One-on-one time spent together is exactly what counselors recommend for today's families, troubled or not. And while teaching patience and honesty in how big the one that got away really was, "fishing" is a time of laughter and fun for everybody involved. Personally, more of my favorite childhood memories revolve around family fishing trips than anything else.
My mother, Kate Delle, gave me the genetic code for loving this sport. She is an intelligent woman, an artist, and the cog of this family's wheel - always doing for others but seldom for herself. Unless the boat's got gas and the weather's nice, I get these whispery phone calls, "Hey, the wind is only five to 10 mph out of the southwest today. How busy are you? Wanna slip over to the lake for a couple of hours"? This is from the same woman who taught me all about family responsibility, cleaning the house, and cooking. But you know, we have discovered you can do both. We can clean the house and let dinner thaw while we're in hot pursuit of a big old bass.
And I will tell you one thing most people who fish with their moms already know, it is an extraordinary time with no interruptions, doorbells, barking dogs, or phone calls. I wouldn't trade the hours spent in my boat with mom for anything in the world; indeed, I'm not alone. I believe in divine intervention. I think a higher power places her in my boat to prove that no, Miss Priss, you do not know everything about fishing, and neither does the book.
Forget that the book says you have to be extremely quiet. My mom can explosively crash-land a lure on a calm surface that should scare away every bass within 100 yards. No, the second explosion I hear is usually a huge trophy bass engulfing the lure. Then it's a net and a camera. I know the drill. I can forget fishing when she is in the boat! How are moms so lucky? I have fished professionally for 18 years, but my mom can cast some faded, rusty, out-of-season lure and still catch trophy bass. A buzzbait when it is snowing? Or pick out a backlash for 30 minutes to find a giant bass on the other end? My favorite is when I asked why she was reeling so fast, and she said that mean old big fish was trying to take the lure away from this little one I caught! Regardless of how much fishing we think we know, mothers know more.
So should you wonder what to get your mom for Mother's Day or her birthday, think of a most special gift, the gift of fishing? Take her breath away with a colorful sunrise and let breezes blow away her problems as you cruise across the lake. Show her a bald eagle, or give her a whole field of spring flowers. Let her thrill in the challenge of landing a frisky fish. Consider a day spent one-on-one with your mom and a gift like no other. She deserves it!
P.S. Don't forget you moms can take your kids fishing too! And remember, what matters most isn't the number or size of fish you catch; it's the memories you make.