Looking back at some old pictures, I realized that more of my memorable “great moments” have come from fishing than from any other area of my life. I was surprised.
There’s something about our sport that seems to hit a special cord for many of us, and we all feel it. I believe that these big moments come in various packages for anglers. Most spend their lives waiting for their next great experience; others are just hoping, for once, that it will happen for them.
The most obvious experience that I see everyone get excited about is “the biggest fish I ever caught” moment! Even usually unemotional fishermen will fall out of character when describing their crowning glory catch. Since most folks don’t have a bragging sized fish, when they do get one this automatically puts you in a different category. Every angler wants to say they got a monster.
You’ll know pretty quickly if someone has had a trophy catch, and I love hearing all about it. Of course, you need to acknowledge that it was epic, so they know you “got it!” I believe it’s all about respect and feeling you finally belong alongside your peers. It’s a powerful thing that everyone can see goes to your core. For those who haven’t gotten a big one yet, you can bet they want that special “bucket list” memory, too!
Why is it that grown men will cry when talking about fishing with Dad or Grandpa years ago?
Funny, but the urge to be a part of, or have a special memory all on your own, is so strong that anglers sometimes will pull out their story of the monster that got away just to prove they also have something unique to share – that they are in “the club,” too! Many of us seem to work very hard to try to keep up and to have done something special that proves we have accomplished a memorable achievement. I’ve seen elaborate tales of the big one that got away passed down with the same respect as actual catches. It was important to them. It was their big “moment,” and I don’t question it.
For other anglers, the moments are the time spent building irreplaceable fellowship with buddies, family or friends while on the water, real quality time that doesn’t seem to be coming from other activities. Why is it that grown men will cry when talking about fishing with Dad or Grandpa years ago? That’s a special bond you don’t always see. It’s a “deep moment” thing many regret never having. It still hits me.
Many of the most touching stories I’ve heard at funerals have been about special fishing trips from years or decades before. I believe these good times on the water tend to sum up the best parts of who we are, better than almost any other example possible. Everyone agrees when they hear it, that it’s true! What do you want the last words about you to be, and how will they make people feel? Those special moments are exactly the legacy I want to leave behind.
Most of us get so busy and distracted today, I think it’s easy to forget what’s really important in our lives. We wake up one day realizing that those great moments we had planned on experiencing never happened. Give your family the gift of your time. Does the office staff see you more than they do?
And be open to surprises. Many of my best trips and moments were unexpected! One of the serendipities of fishing – and the spice of life – is when crazy things happen. These days, I tend to look at each trip as another adventure, each one different, unique and special!
Lately, a lot of folks have told me that they feel like they have somehow missed out in life, that they are running out of time because they have been unable to create the relationships and special memories they had hoped to make for their family. They don’t know what to do.
I believe that getting back to the basics of carving out time to be with family – where close relationships can be developed and “great moments” created on many levels and passed on for generations – is the real glue that holds us together as a society. Never give up!