I have to thank my dad and grandfathers for my connection to the outdoors. My earliest and fondest memories are from spending time with them on the water fishing. They passed their love for fishing to me and I hope to continue that with my kids.
From an early age, my dad exposed me to fishing. We would travel as a family to the Outerbanks and fish the piers at Nags Head. I may have dropped a rod off the pier once, but that didn’t deter him from continuing to take me fishing.
As I got older, he got me on a boat and fishing for catfish in the James River. I learned how to handle a boat and the many hazards out on the open water. He showed a lot of trust in me and allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them. The times out on the water with him and the times he trusted me to go alone shaped who I am today.
He also introduced me to gun safety. While we never hunted, he would take my sister and I to shoot at targets from time to time. It gave me a strong respect for the power of guns and has helped as I began hunting a few years ago.
Both of my grandfathers enjoyed fishing as well. While spending time with one, we would go down the street and fish Bud Johnson’s pond; catching our share of bream and crappie. Through my teens, he would make trips down to Virginia and we would spend a week fishing off the James River. An early morning session would be followed by me cleaning the catfish and him cooking a late breakfast. Then we would go out in the evening and do the same.
We used the boat my other grandfather left after he passed. I remember a first ride in the boat with him. He was driving and his beer bottle was whistling in the wind. He would wake up early and take his other small inflatable boat out. I’m not sure if he was brave or crazy to take that thing out on the river.
Now I’m a dad of two kids and I’m passing along the lessons I learned from my dad and granddads. My teenage daughter is learning to handle the boat and has an interest in archery. She likes to sleep in, so she misses out on some of the fishing, but when she does get out with me, she always has a good time.
My son is still young and he’s caught the fishing bug. He’ll wake early with me and we’ll go catch our limit. He’s an excellent first mate and still enjoys playing with the bait more than catching the fish. As he gets older his patience for fishing has grown and he’s beginning to reel in a few good fish.
I can’t thank my dad enough for getting me outdoors. The impact of our time spent together can’t be quantified. As we both get older, I hope to continue our time together and have the great knowledge learned passed on to my kids.