Growing up, Dad was superman on the water. He could effortlessly make the perfect cast while somehow unsnagging my rod, and fixing an impossible mess my brother made all at the same time. How did he manage the trolling motor while juggling all three things? Somehow, he was still catching fish despite all of the chaos engulfing him. How though? Well, it’s because he was better than KVD. He was better than Rick Clunn, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Bill Dance, and Hank Parker.
Dad was a pro. Before I knew of the fishing legends we all idolize, there was Dad. Chances are good it’s the same with you. Dad knew how to get the treble hook out of the back of his head from a bad cast. He knew what color I should be throwing. He knew how deep the minnow needed to sink at the crappie dock. He knew how to get that hook out of the fish’s mouth that just wouldn’t budge. When I got older, he knew how to pick out that terrible bird’s nest I made with his fancy new baitcaster. He knew to setup buckets in the winter time so my brother and I could practice casting. He knew how to teach me a “fisherman’s knot” that I still tie today. Dad knew all this because, well, he was better than KVD.
What Dad probably didn’t know was that there was a lot more than fishing going on when my brother and I spent time with him on the water. Maybe you’ve heard the song “Just Fishin’” by Trace Adkins.
“…And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside
Throwin’ back what we could fry
Drownin’ worms and killin’ time
Nothin’ too ambitious
She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout
What’s really goin’ on right now
But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in
And she thinks we’re just fishin…’”
That’s perhaps what makes Dad a better angler than any of those guys ever could be to me. The memories outweigh the classic wins, angler of the year titles, television shows and fancy websites. I can remember pulling up on a spot at Perry Lake, catching Crappie cast after cast because somehow dad magically knew where they would be. I remember driving with Dad to one of Jimmy Houston’s marina’s to pick up a boat that Skeet Reese would be jealous to have. I remember catching my first texas rig fish on a Grand Lake point, because Dad taught me how. He even put the fish in the livewell so Mom could see it. I remember how Dad would tell me he’s caught fish so big it took a crane to pull it out of the lake and the water level dropped. That’s right; my dad even taught me how to tell a fish story.
And though he doesn’t fish much now, he’s still my biggest supporter on the water. I remember how Dad helped me fix up my first piece of junk boat when I got back into fishing. We must have made six separate trips to the lake before that stupid Evinrude ran right. I remember how I thought my first five pounder would never come, but Dad knew it was coming soon. I remember how confident he was that I was going to do well in my first tournament. I remember him driving four hours with me to pick up my first real bass boat. I remember talking fishin’ with Dad for longer than any normal person could want to, and somehow he’d never change the subject. Those memories are big’ins alright.
That’s why my dad is a better fisherman than KVD ever could be. Even though the pros could put a whoopin’ on my dad, they can’t touch the memories. He’ll always be superman on the water. And though he’d be quick to tell you that I’m a far better angler than he ever could be, I’ve still never been able to catch a fish so big that the water level dropped. This one is to all the Dad’s out there that have taken their kids out fishin’, my Dad especially. Remember to take your kids fishing. They might not know what’s really goin’ on right now; but, they will someday.
Blake Russell AKA – PBRussell