Seems like it was only yesterday the fishing journey had began. Techniques were simple and the lures were basic. Just the type of stuff you typically find in a high school kids tackle box. Cut off t-shirts, jeans, and a baseball cap pretty much summed up the wardrobe ninty percent of the time. Just a little time to relax while you waited for that bobber to "thunk" under the surface. Tough days were no big deal, you'd just dump the night crawlers and head to pick up the Saturday night date or meet up with friends. Then in a instant it all changes.
It happens that first time we get that rush. That rush that gets your blood pumping and hands shaking. The nervous system registers the excitement, the adrenaline starts to flow, and we begin a quest to repeat that feeling. Suddenly things begin to over-complicate themselves.
Magazine articles started piling up, and days away from the waters edge became days surfing channels trying to find fishing shows. Al Lindner was suddenly the most interesting man in the world. We leave our comfort zones to begin exploring techniques and searching for more knowledge. All things become about achieving that feeling again.
After catching a few fish of size you started wondering, "Could I be competitive at this on a tournament level?" The old Plano quickly finds refuge in the corner of the garage and a boat moves in to house the thousands of dollars in gizmos we collected all winter. We go from a couple spinning rods to 10 bait casting rods. Cut of t-shirts become a decorative garment to show you love what you do and something different is beginning to take shape. The competitor in you begins to take over as you chase the first tournament win, then the next and the next.
A few years later the interesting part happens, that high school kid that fished because he loved it starts talking to you again. Suddenly things slow down and the pace begins changing. You're not craving the hook set as much as the fresh air and adventure. Its beginning to be about the experience of being out there again. Blue skies and new water.
As fishermen we are drawn to the water till the end of our run. We have seen the sun rise a thousand different ways and the storms brewing on the horizon. There are countless relationships built and stories to share even as we grow older and fade away from our ability to take part in the weekly grind.
But one thing will always remain and that's the part where we fished because we loved it. Fishing was part of our lives. Money earned was money spent on shiny new tackle and overtime cash just meant more gas in the boat. Maybe our veins are made of fluorocarbon and braid, but one thing is for certain. There's something in us all that will always look across any lake we pass by and think silently, "I wonder if they are biting today.