If there is one thing that brings a smile to my face then it would have to be when I go fishing with the family.  I can’t think of one time where going fishing made me stressed out.  Since it makes me so happy, to watch my children catch a fish is one of the best feelings I have ever had.  One of my first memories was sitting on the side of a pond with a fishing pole in my hand. I truly believe more people should take their children to a lake, pond, or river and watch their children have more fun than they ever have.

The love for fishing starts at an early age

My love for fishing started early in life. My dad took me fishing at a very young age.  One of my first memories was when we were at a family gathering in Waynesboro, Georgia.  There is a huge pond with two spillways.  I had a cane pole in my hand and started fishing with crickets.  

Each time I threw the line out I caught a brim, shell cracker, or a crappie.  I can’t explain to you how much fun I had at that time.  I was having so much fun that when my dad asked me to come in the house to eat, I told him I would rather stay out there and fish.  I think I caught about a hundred fish that day and since then I can’t wait to get out on the water as I chase a monster.  

A family affair

As I grew older, I loved fishing with my grandmother, Big Sadie, at the same pond.  Every time I would go to her house for a weekend, she would schedule one day for fishing.  She would get her rods restrung, buy crickets, and make a day of it.  

Watching Big Sadie cast out her line while her legs were crossed, like only a Southern lady would, always brought a smile to my face.  She would consistently catch more fish than I did.  At the end of the day, I would paddle her around the pond while she casted out her Rapala, Broken Back Blue lure.  These memories are ingrained in my mind.   The loving memories I had of Big Sadie will be cherished for the rest of my life. 

Fishing creates memories to last a lifetime

Fishing with Big Sadie was such a treat.  She had the best stories of how things were when she was young.  She would talk about all the huge fish she caught over the years as well as stories of when my dad was a young boy.  Big Sadie always had some kind of lesson which correlated with each story.  

Fishing was our connection because we each loved it.  I will never forget the last words I said to her before she passed away in April 2005 – “When you get out of this hospital bed, I can’t wait to paddle you around Forest Hills Pond and catch us a monster fish.”   When I told her that, she smiled as she slept.  Each time I think of Big Sadie, I can’t help but think about fishing with my best friend. 

The tradition of fishing continues

Taking my older son Hamilton down to the family pond to go fishing for the first time when he was three was an awesome experience.  The screams of excitement and the joy of catching his first fish brought me tears of happiness.  That day, I spent most of my time tying on hooks, putting on crickets, teaching him how to cast and untangling lines.  When he finally pulled in that four-ounce fish, I forgot about all the time I spent before that moment.  Since then, he’s turned into a great angler.  

Hamilton’s 1st Fish

When my younger son Jackson became  old enough to where he could join us, he enjoyed watching Hamilton and me. He used to go from one side of the pond watching his brother and then run over to the other side of the pond to watch me.  

Jackson has one of the best belly laughs in the world and when he starts laughing he can’t stop.  I will never forget watching him run back and forth from Hamilton to me and then back again.  When one of us caught a fish, he would laugh uncontrollably.  I don’t think I have ever seen anyone get more joy out of going fishing than my son Jackson.  To this day, he is the happiest person I know when he has a fishing rod in his hand.   

Jackson’s First Fish

Bringing along all the kids to go fishing

My daughter Caroline really just loves to watch people fish.  About five years ago when she was four, she begged me to take her fishing.  I spent a long time showing her how I cast out the lure and then reel it in.  When she saw me catch a fish she screamed with laughter and actually backed away from me.  I asked her to touch the fish and she did with one finger and wanted me to throw it back out.  I didn’t really know if she was interested until a couple of days later, she wanted me to buy her a pink fishing rod.

 Once I bought Caroline her own pink rod, she showed more interest but wanted me to actually cast for her.  I took the whole family along with some friends last year when Caroline was eight and she had the best time as she was casting her line a reeling in fish.  

Fishing memories to last a lifetime

One day last summer we caught over 20 fish at our favorite pond in Waynesboro, GA. I then taught all three of my children how to scale and clean all the small fish and how to filet the bass we caught.  We fried all the fish with my black skillet and we ate it that night.  It was delicious.  Since then, each one of my children ask me when we are going fishing and have a fish fry at least once a month.

Recipe for fried fish

As a side note, my friend CJ shared with me the best way to enjoy fish. Here is the simple recipe that is too good not to share:

  • One cup of all-purpose flour
  • One cup of cornmeal
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • Vegetable oil – enough to fill ¼ of the skillet

Pour a 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of cornmeal, teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of Lawry’s season salt and a teaspoon- a tablespoon of pepper in a bowl.  Mix everything together in the bowl.  Place a fish or peice of fishing into the concoction and flip it several times.  Cook the vegetable oil on medium high heat in a black skillet.  When there is a cake full of batter, place the fish into the black iron. After 1 minute of cooking one side of the fish, flip it to the other side.  When there is a golden brown color on the fish, place the fish on a plate of paper towels.

There isn’t anything better than watching a child catch a fish when you go fishing with the family.  I always enjoyed fishing with my friends and family.  Watching my children love it as they grow up warms my heart because they are making great memories.  Some of my fondest memories are pulling in a big bass or catching over fifty pan fish on a warm Spring or Summer day.  If you haven’t experienced the joy of watching your children catch a fish then I encourage you to give it a try – those are the memories that will last a lifetime, I promise!