My mother has to top any list when I think of people that influenced me. She loved to fish so I got my love of fishing honestly. She was thrilled to catch anything from a tiny bream to a big catfish, and never met a fish she did not want to catch. I thank her for taking me to local ponds and creeks when I was growing up, and showing me the patience to sit and watch a cork for hours on end.
She also sacrificed so I would have time to fish as a teenager. Living on a farm with 11,000 laying hens, there was work to be done all day every day, and I was expected to do my share. But I realize now there were many times my mother worked extra hours, often long into the night, grading eggs so I could go fishing. She would do anything she could to make me happy.
My father also instilled a love of the outdoors in me, but from him I got my love of dove shooting and quail hunting. I spent many hours with him following our bird dogs, and also have many good memories of sitting in a dove blind with him telling me what to do and how to hit the elusive bird that I almost always missed.
He also taught me dedication and the desire to do a good job at anything I started. This has carried over into my fishing, making me want to learn all I can about the fish I am trying to catch, the equipment I use and the methods that work best.
My Uncle Adron hunted and fished almost every day of his life. He came back from World War 2 shell shocked and never held a regular job, but owned a small hunting and fishing gas station. He would lock the door and go hunting or fishing in a second if no one was there to run it for him when he wanted to go, though.
Uncle Adron took me deer hunting for the first time. He taught me to shoot a bow and helped me learn how to sit in a tree perfectly still, waiting on what was a very uncommon animal back in the 1960s. Seeing even one deer was something to talk about for a week, and shooting one was celebrated for all year. Uncle Adron had dozens of racks around the canopy of his store. There is no telling how many he killed.
Uncle Mayhu lived in Virginia but his visits every summer meant day after day of bass fishing. He taught me a lot about the habits of my favorite fish, where to catch them, how to fight them and even how to land them. He was always calm and thoughtful while fishing, and helped me learn to think about what I was doing while fishing. He is the first one to tell me to think like a bass to try to catch one.
Uncle Walter loved to go to the coast and fish saltwater. I went with him one time and will never forget fishing on a head boat for grouper and other bottom dwelling fish in the Gulf off the coast of Florida. The trip was exciting, too, since I seldom saw him without his bottle of whisky in one hand and a cigar in his mouth. I found out later my mother was worried sick the whole weekend I was gone, but everything worked out OK.
There are many others that influenced my love of the outdoors. Those memories are very special, and they will live with me the rest of my life. I hope you have many similar memories, and are passing them on to your children.
If you would like to read others post in that thread or would like to post a message and share your own fishing and hunting heritage, visit my forum at http://fishing.about.com/mpboards.htm. You have to register to post but can read messages as a guest.