Thursday, June 12, 2014

Just Fishin'

Growing up, some of the best times of my childhood were spent in a 15ft long, by 4 foot wide confined area with my dad. Jigheads, loose line, tackle trays, coffee stains, nightcrawler stains, melting bottles of SPF 50, empty coke cans,full coke cans, life jackets, rain jackets, jacket-jackets, and lunch boxes littered the inside enough to make me wonder how the two of us even had room to move. I think about those times and how many hours were spent talking about all the things most important in life. Who's pitching tonight for the Twins? What color of spinner we should try next? The limit of walleyes the neighbors'-uncles'-brother caught in this spot just a short few days prior, and why we couldn't catch em.  Countless conversations, actions and time and restrictions to move..... spent just fishin' with my dad. Those were the memories that sculpted much of who I am today. Those times, good fishing or bad....great weather or rain, are the days I will cherish until my final cast.

I now try to carry on that same experience with my two boys.  "Don't touch that button on the depth finder", "How was school today?" or "No, Brad.......a Muskie will not eat your leg while you are swimming at the beach" take the place of the exact same conversations I had with my dad when I was his age. Even though the times, boats, and technology has changed, the conversations and experiences are still exactly the same.  It's that quality time spent on the water "just fishin" and the experience that in a way shapes our lives to an extent.  As you read this, many of you will get exactly what I am explaining.  For some, maybe they were not fortunate enough to be able to experience the same memories that I was able to.  Those who have not, just remember....its not too late.  For many, there is still that chance to start now.  It can be as simple, or as advanced as you want make it.

I recently had the opportunity to guide four brothers and their dad on Leech Lake.  This trip was booked back in March by a friend of mine from home.  He called me and said, "I know it's early in the year, but I want to book a trip with you in June with my brothers, AND my dad."   At first, I didn't think too deep and just wrote it down in my calendar.  About a week prior to the trip, we conversed again and set up a game plan, meeting time and finalized their trip. I could tell how excited they were to get up here and on the water. It was after I hung up that it hit me.  This was not just another guided fishing trip for them. This wasn't about coming to Leech Lake because that's where they thought their best chances of catching fish was. This was a trip all about getting together, and most importantly...getting together with their dad.  Just the four of them sharing the same exact thing. The fact that they wanted me to share that experience with them is something that makes my job as a fishing guide so incredibly great.  For that day, I was leaned upon to make sure that their experience was as comfortable, first class and special as absolute possible. A few days passed now since the trip, and looking back it wouldn't have mattered if we hadn't caught a single fish.  There was bickering, arguing, antagonizing, horseplay, and as many smiles as I had ever seen in a single fishing trip.  At times, I just ran the motor and watched.  The rest was filled with taking pictures and videos of fish, fish that were supported by 8 arms.  Not because they were that big, but because the other arms were on shoulders of the angler who caught it. As the day ended, I was certain they had just made a memory that they will remember forever.

 As Father's Day comes up this weekend, I challenge each and every one of you to spend that special time in the boat or on the water with your father or children.  It doesn't even have to be on Father's Day or this weekend for that matter.  Circle a day on the calendar, and make a plan.  Use your boat, your dad's boat, rent a boat or hire a guide.  It really will not matter how you do it, but THAT you do it.  A few short hours, a half a day, or a week long trip, regardless of the timeframe, might just make a memorable experience for you, your kids, or your father that will live on forever.

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