There are always interesting developments that happen in our lives. Since Labor Day weekend, I have had an influx of folks contact me to take them fishing. That in itself is not that out of the ordinary, but there is one factor that is: all of these requests have been from youth.
I have had kids contact me that range in age from the fifth grade to seniors in high school. Some of them are local youngsters and others are from deep within the suburbs. All of them, though, are extremely fascinated with fishing. This one, shared outdoor interest was the common thread that led all of them to reach out to me.
At some point in the past, whether in passing or in deeper conversation, I had told each of them to give me a buzz sometime when they could and we would go out and catch some bucketmouths. Each of us has had these parting conversations with people.
“Hey, we need to get together sometime,” or “Call me.”
Most of us are usually sincere in our invitations but then life gets in the way. I can recall only a handful of times in my 41 years where one of these casual invitations actually came to fruition until now.
Each young, aspiring angler that I told to contact me actually did. Can you believe it? It takes a deep passion for something to drive that kind of persistence in picking up the phone and trying to make good on an offer given to you sometime in the past. I was so proud of these kids because I am always honest when I say I will take someone fishing.
The first was a high school senior and his father. We braved the waters on the ever-treacherous Labor Day weekend. This is often the last hurrah for personal watercraft users and water skiers alike. The added boat traffic can make fishing a bit circumstantial, but we actually did quite well and it made a lasting impression on the young man.
His father texted me later that evening and told me how his son just talked nonstop about the day. He chattered on about the boat, he rifled off statements about the massive amount of fishing lures I have and so on. The text made me laugh.
Anyone that has high-school-aged children, or remembers back to when they did, can appreciate the enjoyment the father must have had listening to his excited son. Teenagers don’t always engage in boundless conversation with their parents, but fishing bridged that chasm of communication. Win for the outdoors.
The next couple of youngsters that I just took out texted me out of the blue this last weekend. Their plans had changed and they were looking for something to do. They contacted me and I had a couple of free hours so we hit the water.
It was so enjoyable to hear about their adventures this past year. They were nonstop. One story after another about fishing, shooting, hunting and just about anything else you could dream up. Those boys that were standing on my boat deck just love the outdoors. They can’t get enough of it.
We didn’t catch a whole lot on that particular trip, but we did land one decent fish and several other little ones. They didn’t care. They were just thrilled to be out and casting a line. I was hoping for more, but as we parted ways, they were so enthusiastic about the day.
The other thing that struck me is that not once did any of these young anglers talk about the things that we normally associate with youth these days. There was no mention of video games; there wasn’t any talk of hanging out on cellphones and texting to endless hours of the night. In fact, the only thing they did was fish and participate in good ol’ conversation that can only take place in a boat.
Fishing has a way of bringing all sorts of people together.
It gives us common ground where we can just sit back and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes I wonder if the Creator didn’t put those scaly little creatures in our lakes and streams just for that purpose.