Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ramblings of the past

I have been fishing since I was a little kid. I remember fishing with a willow branch, some monofilament tied onto it, with a hook and worm catching bluegill out of a sandpit. I don't know how old I was but it was definately before I turned 5. I grew up fishing with my mom and dad. Mom would take me when Dad was working and Dad would do the same. When they were both off we were all fishing.

We had a lake about 30 minutes from the house that was the main lake for our fishing occasions but we would travel several hours to camp and fish at other lakes. I mainly fished for Walleye and Crappie until I got into high school. Dad was good at finding the Walleye. He enterred a tournament and took 7th place with my uncle at the Kansas Governor's cup at Waconda (Glen Elder) Lake.

I spent my allowance on fishing supplies and fireworks. By the time I was in Grade School I had a full arsenal of tackle and some great spinning rod and reels. I was outfishing my parents in Fourth Grade when we lived in Arkansas for a while. Even when we were camping and fishing all day in the boat, when we would get back to camp I would continue to fish from bank.

While we were living in Arkansas for a year Dad was invited to go fishing with a bass tournament fisherman at Greers Ferry. He was not able to take me since he did not know the guy that well, but my feelings were hurt. I had gone on almost every fishing trip Dad had gone on and I felt I would not have been in the way and could have caught bass. I had caught them before while fishing for other species of fish.

He showed me what he learned from the other guy when he got home. He taught me how to Texas rig a worm so that it was weedless and told me how bass would pick them up and you would have to set the hook in order to drive the hook into their mouth. I knew you didn't do that with Walleye or Crappie or you would pull the hook right out of their mouth.

I think it was that trip that really started my interest in bass fishing. I wanted to show Dad that I could catch bass and could learn how to do it on my own. I started with a few bass lures like a jitterbug that I had gotten as a present in some of the lakes around. The bass were a tough fish to catch on purpose but I started to catch a few.

I was already reading Field and Stream and In-fisherman making sure I knew the latest lures and strategies to catch all types of fish.

When we moved back to Kansas in time for 5th grade I had a friend that also fished with his Dad. They didn't go as much as I did but we started asking for each other to go on all camping and fishing trips. He and his dad taught me a majority of what I know bass fishing. They always fished for bass. My dad and me showed him how to catch walleye, crappie, and other sport fish.

When we got into High School we got our learners permit. I bought a small ABC plastic boat and used Dad's pickup and we would go to the lake and sandpits every chance we would get. We honed in on our bass fishing. We could find them anywhere and started catching up to 5 lb largemouths. We would have a ball and try different techniques. Some of them were absolutely crazy but ended up catching fish. At that time Fish Fishburne was on t.v. and he was wacky. We loved him so we tried to be whacky like him.

I remember taking a girl on a date in high school. We went to the movies and after the movies I took her to a really nice spot on the lake that was not heavily trafficed. I was telling her stories how we could outfish about anybody on the lake. To show her I found some wadded up monofilament in the rocks and an old fishing lure not to far from there. I spotted an area that was sure to hold a largemouth and threw the lure into the water. I pulled the string in by hand and sure enough a 2 lber hit and I pulled him in. She was not as impressed as the guys at work when I told them how the date had went.

My friend and I had little competitions each time we went to the lake. They were just for fun but ended up getting pretty crazy. One time we were doing first, biggest, most. As we were driving to our spot we were crossing a bridge. I grabbed a pole out of the back seat and cast a buzzbait while driving. I was letting it pull with the speed of the car like trolling. A bass hit and I had to stop the car to reel it in.

My friend and I were always trying to build memories and some of those trips will not be forgotten.

During my high school years I always wanted to get into a tournament but my Dad's boat did not have a livewell. I was able to enter a couple of tournaments with other guys I knew and we did o.k. They were multi species tournaments put on by my company though. I got biggest bullhead my first year. It was about 4lbs and only a little over a foot long. The next year I borrowed Dad's boat and 2 of my friends went out with me. We planned out how to get largest fish overall and took the boat clear back on the creek and cast out some corn. I hooked into a monster carp and once we got back to weigh in not only did we have largest fish, we had total most pounds and largest carp. We also caught a bass that won that catagory. We took home nearly 1000 dollars. We all three kissed the carp before turning him loose.

Throughout high school I did most of my papers on fishing. I even did a fly tying demonstration at the local church and several other places. I was one of the first people to fly fish from the area. Fly fishing will always have a place in my heart. I caught my biggest bass to date on a fly. It was a little over 7 lbs at a sandpit near my house.

When I got into college I met somebody that did about as much if not more fishing as I did growing up. I didn't think it was possible. We skipped a few classes and went to every lake in a 100 mile radius of campus. We even enterred a catfishing contest put on by the campus and won that.

I have always fished. After my first year of college I slowed down a lot but managed to catch a few meals a year.

After college I moved to Wichita with my girlfriend now wife. There was not any fishing close and I ended up moving again with the company I work for now about 2 hours from her, so all of my free time was spent coming back to Wichita to spend time with her.

I ended up getting transferred to Omaha NE that winter and lived there for about a year. There was not any big water besides the river there. I did fish some smaller ponds and creeks around there but the fishing was limited.

That company was changing locations so I had the opportunity to move with my company again. There were about 3 sites I could transfer to. I looked at the maps around them and made my decision. I told my Director that I would like to move to Columbus, OH. He asked how I made my decision and I showed him a map and pointed out all the lakes in the area. He laughed at me for making a decision based on fishing.

I made the move and have not looked back. Each year I have been here I have fished more and more. I have tried out a lot of different waters and fished for many different species of fish. I even fulfilled a lifelong dream of fishing Lake Erie for Walleye. I still feel all warm inside each time I go there. I never thought that would be possible growing up.

Fishing is always on my mind. I like to do other things too but fishing will always be my favorite next to my family. Hopefully my family continues to like fishing too.

A lot of times I realize that I have an addiction. I can't get enough and it's hard for me to go home after a day on the lake. I often consider giving everything up to fish all the time. I would be completely happy. That's why I am pursuing a fishing career. I know it will take a lot of work but I have been doing fishing so long and have studied it more than anything else that I should be able to excel at something in this field.

I like tournaments and have dreams of becoming a successful pro someday, I would also be happy doing something else. I have considered going back to school and trying to become a park ranger. I have had dreams of writing for Field and Stream. I have written a couple articles and sent it to them. I have had one story I wrote in high school published. It was a great story about winter camping and building memories. I watched people read it and many of them cried.

My writing here is mostly jotting down thoughts, but I can write well. Most of my writing inspirations come from the old field and streams (1932-1960). Back then the writers told stories and you felt like you were taking the trip of a lifetime when you read them. Now there are mostly articles on how to's and about products. Those things are very important. I might try to write a piece or 2 and send them to a magazine. It would be neat to see my writing published in a major magazine even if I didn't make money doing it.

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