Many people impact us over our lives and affect the way we think and the things we like to do. Most important are our parents and family but it branches out to people we go to school with, work with, and meet in clubs and church.
Do you ever stop and think about what influenced you to love fishing? All kids seem to instinctively like fishing and enjoy going, but many never get that chance. And others seem to turn away from fishing as they grow up. But without the chance to go fishing growing up, few will become fishermen after they become adults.
Although I had only one brother, my father and mother had many brothers and sisters and those aunts and uncles influenced me in many ways. Most of them lived within a few miles of where I grew up so I had lots of contact with them all the time.
Uncle Adron, my mother’s youngest brother of five, took me deer hunting my first time when I was 14 years old. He also took me fishing and introduced me to Crème worms, the first plastic worms to come out, back in the 1950s. He taught me where to fish them for bass, how to fish them, and ways to fight and land bass that hit.
Uncle Mayhu lived in Virginia but made annual summer trips to Georgia. I always looked forward to his visits because I got to go fishing with him almost every day he was in town. He and Uncle Adron fished together and let me go along on most of the trips to local farm ponds and lakes. Uncle Adron had permission to fish almost every pond in the county and we had many memorable trips.
I also got to go to New Port News, Virginia and visit Uncle Mayhu most years. He took me to tidal rivers and creeks to catch catfish and bass as well as fishing for saltwater fish in the James River and Chesapeake Bay. Those saltwater trips were great and I was amazed at how many fish we caught, and the variety. Many I had never seen or even heard of in central Georgia since there was no saltwater fishing within many miles of where I grew up.
Uncle J.D. owned a hardware store and he had fishing and hunting supplies there. I bought many of my fishing and hunting supplies there at a very steep discount. It seemed something extra was always included after my purchase, too.
He also had a farm where we shot doves and fished in his pond. He gave me and army surplus gas mask bag the first time I hunted there and I still use it to this day, fifty years later, to carry essentials when I go deer hunting. Old and ragged now, I carry it for the memories although newer more fancy bags are left at home.
Uncle Roger was a salesman for a big outdoor distribution company and always seemed to have something for me when I visited. From boxes of bullets to a brand new bass plug, he seemed to delight in my thrill of getting those items and using them. He did not fish much but loved to hear about the fish I caught on things he had given me.
Those men will live in my memory as long as I am alive. I cherish the things they taught me and the trips I took with them. And they helped instill the love of fishing I have that will also live in me as long as I live. My mother loved fishing, too, and was probably the biggest influence on me, and that is a strong motivation in my life.
Family is important. At the end of the year, remember people who have influenced you and honor their memory. In fact, do that every day, not just at the end of the year.