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Thankful
By Tom "TC" Collins
It seems that some people just do not get it. Why become obssessed with something so frustrating? Why spend day after day in water up to your chest, casting lures so long that your shoulder feels like Jello the next day? You just have to be one of us to understand. It is that simple. Expianing why would be useless in some circles. No pun intended, but fishermen, in my opinion, usually have more depth than non casters.
All of us, in this forum, have our own private reasons that we fish. Some of us will never tell one another the why or the what that makes us flock to the nearest spot to cast for the Striper or Speck that we suspect is lurking in the waves. I tend to be philosophical at times, but I owe you guys an explanation. I am driven to tell you the two reasons that I fish.
Reason one would have to be that my grandfather, Jim, was obsessed. He would, and could fish without out thought of food or comfort. This man grew up fishing the New River for Smallmouths and Catfish. A carpenter by trade, he would fish whenever a contract was not available. He impressed me as being a rugged individual that could withstand the rigors of weather and doing without. My uncles, as well, fell into his footsteps, following along with him on his many excurions onto the water. I remember the breakfasts he would cook before taking me fishing. The smell of the house in the early hours of the morning. The smell of bacon, to this day, reminds me of loading a boat, checking gear, and long hours on Claytor Lake. The pursuit of fish is almost as good as a stringer full. Yes indeed, grandpa Marshall gave me a gift. I have always understood the premise of "Take a Kid Fishing". You see, when I was four, I knew how to handle a canoe and a boat, tie knots, and could cast a spinning reel with little or no effort at all.
Reason two would have to be the fish that I have seen
take my bait. Yes I mean actaully saw the bite. There are two that come to mind.
The first one was about a three pound Largemouth. I was camping on Smith Mountain Lake with my uncle Bob. He was getting the camp set up, and my cousin Chris and I were fishing around the cove we had selected. Bobby had let me use a spincasting reel with one of his Jitterbugs knotted to the end of the line. There were a lot of rocks around the edge, so Chris and I started flailing the water. I was amazed with the action of the old Jitterbug, and watched it gurgle across the top of the water time and time again. I was standing on a large rock, and cast all the way out into the center of the cove. It was gurgling its way back to me and was close enough for me to see the individual pieces of glitter on its back. Then it happened. My retrieve brought the green gurgler past a huge boulder. A dark shape emerged out from the cover of the rock, surged towards the lure, opened its cavernous mouth, and inhaled the bug. I was amazed, never in my life had I caught a fish that size! I remember every detail of that fish to this day. It had the biggest orange eyes that I had ever seen in my life to that point.
The second fish was caught at Cape Hatteras. I was new to surf fishing then, and had baught a pack of silver glitter grubs and some red head jigs. I was using a bass rod, about 6', and a small Shimano reel with eight lbs test. I cast the grub out to the first wave, and began popping it back to shore. I was barely moving the jig, and stopping to hesitate the action, just like the guy at the tackle shop told me to. I was mad, because after about three hours of this at the base of the lighthouse, thing werent just panning out. I was about to pack up my stuff and head back tot the hotel, when I saw the most beautiful fish I had ever seen barely swimming in the wash. I saw spots all over its tail and back! It just cruised back over the lip and into the deep water. My heart pounded. It was the biggest speckled trout that I had ever seen! I started casting out, and slowly retrieving the jig back again. I was renewed. About the third cast out, I slowed down the jigwhen it got to the lip. I was just about to pull it out of the water when I felt a tap. You have to envision this, I couldn't see my jig, but it was in probably four incehs of water! I instantly dropped my rod tip, to slacken the line. I knew that the speck had the jig. Then it it was confirmed. After the wave receded, I saw the fish with the tail of the plastic grub sticking out of its mouth. I set the hook, and the fish wallowed in the break. I didn't know then how actually close to the beach they came. The speck was about but not quite a four pounder.
The thrill of catching a fish, and mine aren't usually monsters, keeps me coming back again and again. The friends I meet that fish, the memories I have of fishing...the great triumphs...what I think are the great tragedies, keep me coming back. It has been a full life thus far. Of all the problems in the world, there is always one pure and unmolested thing that I can count on in the madness of life.
When all else fails, God lets me fish his beautiful water. I am truly thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

TC
 

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Great story Tom. It's easy to find myself somewhere in there. I didn't have a fishing grandfather or father, but as a young kid I knew I needed to fish. I don't know how I knew, since nobody ever took me fishing, but somehow I new. I saw in the back of a comic book that I could sell flower seeds door to door and earn myself a fishing rod, which I did. It was junk of course, but I had a real fishing rod. I went down to a local carp lake to try it out. Funny thing, I had no idea that I needed to bait the hook. They didn't have fishing on TV in those days. O'course I didn't catch anything but I did catch the fever.

Like you, I've fished till I was so cold and shaking so hard that I could hardly move. But for me, it's not all just about catching fish. Being there, on my own schedule, is everything. Seeing someone else haulin' em' in is just as good. And oh, the undescribable feeling that one experiences as the ol' reel sings out that a big something is on takes me back to the water time after time.

Life is short. I'm don't sky dive, bunge jump, or drive race cars. I fish. Anywhere and everywhere. A fisherman should be fishing, or planning his/her next fishing trip.

Fred.
 

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I have two boys 4 and 5 years old that love to fish also and I hope their memories of us fishing will be as fond as yours. Happy Holidays to you and yours TC.
 

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Awsome read...
Makes me think of my first saltwater adventure....It was my 16th birthday and my mother took me out on the Miss Barnagate Light out of barnagate n.j. It was a Day that ill never forget.First started out with my first saltwater fishing reel a penn 650ss ..
We headed out for bluefish.. on a beautiful october morning.We caught fish from first drop to the end 10 to 20 lb blues were everywhere ill never forget that day i could go on and on of the event as it is going threw my mind right now reliving the day...
I had only done freshwater fishing up till then , now i do 99.5 percent saltwater ever since that day .

Thanks for bringing me back to the old days.. Memories are what life is all about.. what kind you leave are what your life is based on.
 

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I can't remember what I had for lunch today

But I have "total recall" of my very first fish.

I was 4, and this "stranger" in a Soldier Suit (My Dad had just returned fron 2 years in Germany) took My Mom and Me fishing.

My first fish was a "Sunny" from the Shannondoah River.

Dad tried to get Me to hold the fish, but I was afraid to touch it. (Too much time with Mom)

So Dad stuck the Sunny in My pants pocket, and let Me work it out for Myself.

I'm sure that things got loud and emotional there for a few minutes, but that was the only fish I've ever been afraid of.

And it's a memory, that's just as vivid today, as it was in 1958

In the ensuing 45 years there have been countless memorable outings, but only a few that "Haunt" Me.

A Blue Marlin, all "lit up", while destroying a teaser, about 15' from the transom.........

A huge Rainbow rolling on his side, to grab a 6" Sucker, right at My rod tip.......
 

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cool story TC

I was hooked ever since i pulled out a little 5" brookie back in maine in the early 60's :) Guess I just revealed that im a old fart eh? :)
 

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Great story TC, I think we all have a lot to be thankful for.
i first started fishing as something cheap to do with my Girlfriend years ago. with and old poll and bottom rigs i fished. but she hated fishing and i found something better then her. ever sense then i have fished. there are other reasons why is fish, but that is how i started. So in a way i look back on the worst relationship of my life and i am thankful i got fishing out of it.

Heres to a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


dan lee


fish til it hurts
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks

Thanks for the kind words guys. I am glad you enjoyed my writing. I will try to give you guys some more to read in the future.
I am so full of turkey right now it is terrible!
TC
P.S.- "Kickem in the head Fred" ... Is that you?:D
 
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