The Reason I Fish
Here’s a little story that helps explain where all this Fishing Forward Outfitters stuff comes from. This story shares the moment I went from just another goofball kid jumping his bike over the neighbor’s garbage cans to the fishing obsessed nut you know today who’s two basic trains of thought are ‘go fishing’ or ‘create cool fishing stuff for serious fishing fans.’ Enjoy!
WHOOSH! A solid four-pounder explodes into a full aerial cartwheel, nipping, but not quite getting the hooks of my Phat Frog. For that brief, unexpected moment there is nothing else in my world. My adrenaline surges. My stomach flutters. My senses are supercharged. It is a feeling that is hard to explain to someone who doesn't fish, but a feeling with which I have become very familiar.
Although my first time was nearly 50 years ago, I can remember the details like it was yesterday. It was nearly dark that warm July evening in northern Illinois. I had worked my way around to the low, marshy side of my favorite fishing hole. I swatted at the ravenous mosquitos as I approached the waters edge through a clearing in the cattails. I fired my newly acquired Rebel Craw crank bait as far as my Zebco's tired, twisted monofilament would allow. I had read in Fishing Facts magazine that people had caught bass using crank baits, but I had yet to prove it personally. I remember feeling the wobbling vibration telegraphing through my fishing rod as I began my slow, steady retrieve. Quickly, no less than a dozen mosquitos took advantage of my full hands and began feasting on my bare arms. I tried to ignore them, knowing that if I stopped reeling, my lure would lose its action and never fool a wary bass. I tried to ignore them but it was too much. As the lure drew near, I began reeling as fast as I could, set on dealing with those pesky, blood suckers. Just as I was about to lift the Craw out of the water...WHOOSH! There was the biggest bass I had ever seen (probably about four pounds) looking right at me, crank bait locked solidly in his jaw, shaking his huge head from side to side. My adrenaline surged. My stomach fluttered. My senses were supercharged. Then SNAP! And just like that, he was gone. I stood in the cattails with my mouth hanging open, unable to move or speak. Certainly I was disappointed, but even more than that I was thrilled. Awestruck! High on the rush of that moment of contact. It was magic to me. Already, I couldn't wait to find my next fish.
As I stand on the front deck of my boat today, I've experienced that magical rush hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. But today, as that big bass attacked my frog, I realized for the first time on a conscious level that the rush is the reason I can't stop fishing. I love the outdoors, the camaraderie, and all of the other wonderful benefits fishing offers, but these things can be found in lots of other activities like hiking or even bird watching. That magical, sometimes violent, addictive rush that happens when a fish strikes, can't be found anywhere but fishing. It happens when a bluegill pulls your bobber out of sight, just like it happens when a 50" Muskie tries to pull your arms off while stealing your favorite TopRaider. Magic. Sweet, addictive magic.
Silently, I ease my boat around the spot in the pads where the big bass had assaulted my Phat Frog. Perhaps a different retrieve angle across the same spot will convince her to take another shot. My lure lands with a soft "plop". I let it sit motionless for as long as I can stand it. Twitch, twitch…twi -WHOOSH! There she is, and this time she crushed it - both hooks firmly planted in the roof of her mouth! And there's that feeling, that magic. That adrenaline, fluttery, sensory magic! And just like every time before, I already can't wait to find my next fish.
Keep Fishing Forward!