I recently got to take my dad bass fishing. Anyone who knows me is thinking this is nothing out of the ordinary. Though I do get to fish quite often, I rarely get to do it with my father. Even though he’s retired, and my schedule can be flexible, it’s still hard to get all the ducks in a row. Luckily,on this day we made it work. Of all the trips we’ve taken together…this one was going to be memorable.
After grabbing a doughnut and some coffee I was at the lake waiting on my father. He called to say he had forgotten something and was running late. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit frustrated. I really had wanted to take advantage of an early topwater bite, which would now be mostly done by the time we launched. Shortly he arrived and we quickly loaded and launched my Jackson Kayak ‘Big Tuna’ tandem kayak. The majority of the morning including nothing of note, except to say it was time well spent with my father.
Where the fishing was slow the conversation was not. The great thing about fishing with a close friend, who is also your dad, is that every topic imaginable can be covered. Time seemed to pass quickly and we had covered a large section of water by late morning. While rounding the bend back towards the spot where we had started, my dad tossed a trick worm to the bank near a small dock. And, of course, a large wind knot was exposed on his reel.
This is the part where you would expect me to tell you he hooked a GIANT fish. But actually it turned into a conversation about why our ‘fool proof’ tactics had, thus far, led to less than stellar results. As he picked at the knot I mentioned that the very shallow muddy bank we were on wasn’t the honey hole we were searching for. My sarcasm did not go unnoticed. Dad quickly reiterated his earlier prediction “ we won’t catch many today, but the ones we do catch will be good ones”. Looking back, I wonder if he knew something that I didn’t.
Once the knot was removed he turned his attention to reeling in the line that had nearly been forgotten. And as is often the case with slack lines, the worm had gotten hung up. The difference was, of course, that this worm was snagged in the gullet of a GIANT bass. Once dad realized he was hooked up the fight was on. After a few seconds of screaming drag I was notified that the 8lb line my father had on his reel was “ancient” and was almost certainly NOT up to the task at hand. After almost 5 minutes of a bent rod, on and off slack line, and near miss with a hang up on the kayak, the lunker hit the bottom of my net.
After realizing just how big this bass was, I came to a startling realization. Of the nearly 30 years I have spent on the water with my dad this was the biggest bass I had ever seen him land. It would soon come to light it was the biggest bass HE had ever seen him land. Once he got his hands on the fish, I noticed a sense of awe come over the old man. I know how I feel when a big girl comes into the boat, but I finally got to see that feeling in my dad, first hand. The elder bass weighed just over eight and a half pounds, and fought with every ounce of it. We snapped a few….ok…a LOT of pictures and then released her back to continue her life.
A great memory was made and a true trophy of a fish was part of that. But even more importantly, it was with my father. There is an undeniable limit to the number of fishing trips we’ll have together. But there is no limit to how much we can enjoy those days. From one fisherman to another, whether it’s your father, mother, sibling or best friend; make the time to enjoy time together. You’ll be glad you got the chance to fish with’em, especially when the fish of a lifetime comes calling.