Fishing is a pastime for some and a passion for others. For me, its a combination deal that often allows for the mixing of business with pleasure amid a wide variety of settings ranging from lakes and bays to rivers, streams, and stock tanks.
Through the years, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to fish in freshwaters all over the United States, South America, and Mexico. True. I havent caught one of every sporting species that swims in these waters (not even close to it), but I have put my hands on a bunch of them and logged a passel of fond memories in the process.
People often ask me what is my favorite type of fish to catch, but I can honestly say I dont really have a "favorite" in the context of the word. While I am sometimes perceived as a hardcore bass guy, my closest friends will tell you Im a swinger at heart who will try just about anything once.
In my book, the most fun fish to catch are those that are biting the best at time. Make no mistake about it. As much I enjoy the challenge of cracking the code with burly largemouths, I still get just as excited at the sight of a tiny cork disappearing under the hard pull of a feisty bluegill as I ever did.
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Bottom line: Fishing is dear to my heart. So close, in fact, that when my final number comes up I hope they find me at the base of a boat ramp on the heels of another banner fishing day. Here are a few reasons why I hope Ill be fishing until the day I die:
A rising sun: One of my favorite times as a fisherman is first light, when the eastern horizon glows with a brilliant pastel of pink, gold, and orange hues to signal the dawn of a brand new day.
Tough to top: There is nothing like witnessing the explosion of thick-shouldered largemouth hammering topwater plug. Sometimes the strikes are so violent they can be heard from 100 yards away on a windless summer day.
Trotline Brutes: I like to eat catfish, and there is not a better way to stock a freezer than running trotlines on a reputable catfish lake like Toledo Bend when the water level is on a slow rise. Running trotlines is hard work, but the mushy feel of a big fish you cannot see makes it all seem worthwhile.
Trap Fever: During the dead of winter the Rat-L-Trap bite heats up on grass lakes across eastern Texas. This is fast-paced fishing that completely contradicts the old adage that you have to fish deep and slow when water temperatures are cold. The faster you wind the Trap, the better the bass seem to like it.
Rap-Tap Crappie: Soaking shiners for crappie is fun, but catching them on tiny jigs and ultra-light gear is a blast. The jig really shines when the fish are aggressive and suspended in big numbers around outside grass lines, brush piles, and bridge pilings.
Fishing for a living: The great blue heron makes its living on the water and it is a master when it comes to picking off unsuspecting shad or perch. Pay attention to these guys and they will often times tell you exactly where the fish are.
The Smell of Fish: If there is one thing I like more than catching fish it is the smell of a dirty johnboat. A boat that reeks of fish is reliable sign that somebody had a pretty good day on the water.
Getting In a Scrape: "Scrape" is a bass fishing term used to describe what can happen when you get a school of big fish fired up along an isolated stretch of deep grass or bushes that may be no larger than office desk. Two guys who play their cards right and can put 30-plus-pounds of bass in the boat in short order when a scrape bite goes in progress.
Bantamweight Bream: Just call it a boyish rite of summer. When bream move shallow to spawn in late spring, I always make a point to go there with them at least once with a long pole and bobber in hand. Ounce for ounce, the bantamweight bruisers are the hardest fighters swimming in freshwater, bar none. They also are among the tastiest.
I could think of dozens of other reasons why I hope to fish until the day I die, but none would carry more meaning than the root of it all.