Ask any member of my family when they caught their first fish and you probably won’t get a straight answer. Why? Because our family fishing traditions run so deep that we were all too young to remember the first time we had a rod and reel in our hands.  I know I was little because I have hazy memories of being on the boat with my dad before I was four years old. I don’t think that was when I caught my first fish though because I’m pretty sure (sniff) I was tying my own flies by that time. In all seriousness, I do remember making lures in elementary school because my third grade teacher punished my friend Curtis and I by keeping us in at recess when she caught us comparing patterns during spelling class.  I remember my first trophy largemouth very well, a five-pounder caught on a crankbait when I was seven.  I can easily recall my first top-water rockfish even though I was only twelve. I also remember a lot of big fish that got away – I think those are the hardest to forget – but pinpointing that first fish is dern near impossible. This week my grand-kids are visiting from Tennessee and we’ve been making memories with a new generation of anglers. My son Daniel had some time off from his busy performance schedule. Since he was slated to take care of the kids while his wife attended an out-of-town wedding, he decided to drive north to Maryland.  With my wife out of town as well, we were all set for a bachelor weekend with the younguns.

Defining the exact moment of the first fish creates a philosophical dilemma for me.  How should one define it?  Is it the first fish you reel in, or should it be the first time you set the hook?  Maybe that’s not enough, shouldn’t you make the cast as well?  And even if you do all the above, what about selecting the lure and tying it on?  Spooling the reel?  Finding the fishing spot? Driving the boat? The list goes on and on but I guess there’s no point to being picky.  After all, I know a lot of adults who consider themselves fishermen who can’t meet a lot of those qualifications.  Let’s just leave it by saying there’s more to fishing than reeling in a fish.

So, I can’t really say for sure if this was the weekend when Ella caught her first fish since she’s been reeling them in for several years.  The difference is that this year she’s started casting and doing a respectable job of working a jig and top-water plug.  More importantly, she’s understanding the concepts that go along with becoming a good angler. Whatever we call it, she’s been doing it successfully for the past couple of days.  Her younger brother Tucker is interested, but since he just turned one year old he’s not quite old enough to hold up a fishing rod yet. We’ll give him a couple of months.  For now, he makes a pretty good cheering section. Here’s some photos to document Ella’s fishing. Will she look back at these someday and call it her first fish?  Time will tell.

Posted Saturday, August 28th, 2010 at 1:05 am
Filed Under Category: Fishing Reports
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Responses to “First Fish?”

  1. Chris says:

    Although I hope the grandkids are a FEW years down the road, I can’t wait to do the same.

  2. evie says:

    That’s our girl!!!!!

  3. RiverCat09 says:

    That is such a cool story! My first was in Pennsylvania over 40 years ago. Like many other kids, mine was a bluegill. I still have the ‘fishing rod” that Pop made me to catch it with, a cut from a sapling with fishing line on it. Thanks for the story!


  4. Phil Kerchner says:

    Excellent read Shawn – thanks for sharing the trip and the memory.

  5. Mike Burrows says:

    Great story. Like you I can’t remember the first one but I know it was a bluegill since most of my family fishing was in ponds with worms. Give here a few years and she’ll be outfishing you.


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