I have to stop at this point in my life and look back at what has taken place to get me to where I am now. My journey: family, friends, bass fishing – Follow along as I explain. Wow, what a ride as I look at the book which is my life. Family and fishing have always been there. I had a wonderful family, and my father loved bass fishing. He taught me the patience it took, those little ‘old school’ tricks I still use today when things get tough. He also taught me how to be a man, a standup guy, a friend to others and an enemy to some. I still remember the talks while sculling around the pond trying to catch the one big fish which always got away, the things I learned in those days are more valuable to me than anything I learned in college at this point in my life.
My Journey: Family, Friends, Bass Fishing
Once I left home and set my sails to learn the world and become a man, God decided to give me a challenge, one I needed, one teaching me, although it took many years, how to be patient, how to be straight forward and clear in my life. He sent me to a land that should never be inhabited by a human and he sent me alone. There I learned patience, I missed my family, I missed everything about the great country air. But for God and Uncle Sam, I done as I was told, I lived through it, and I came home.
Tattered and mixed up beyond all recognition my life went on a downward spiral. My father passed away, my rock was gone, my best friend was there no more. I continually asked myself, “what to do.” One day, I went down to the old ‘big pond’ and sat, this is the very moment, the very second my life turned around. The big ole bass, we so many times chased, and played ‘hide and seek’ with busted on the far side. It was a huge strike. I knew it was her, and she with all of her glory changed my life. It was like my dad had poked her in the ribs and said boo. The ripples came across the lake; I followed them until just a slight wrinkle hit the shore where I was sitting. She, God and my Father straightened me out that very day, changed my life, started molding me to what I am today, good or bad; this is where it started.
My love for bass fishing became greater and greater as I went through time meeting new friends, new brothers and sisters, with the same deep passion for the sport. I fished all over the south in many trails, clubs and just for fun. I have met more great people fishing than any other thing I have been a part of in my life. The warriors that I have carried to the lakes in Mississippi and Alabama have blessed my soul. These warriors made me whole and again, and changed my life more than they will ever know. You see, I don’t do the things I do for them, I do it for me, I do it for how it makes me feel. These guys and gals have given more than me, suffered more than me and without whining, questioning or worrying about why. I am always amazed at the Wounded Warriors of our country, what they have done, how they live and their awesome thoughts on life. These Wounded Warriors, while bass fishing, have changed me.
As we get older, things happen to our bodies. We slow down, we hurt, we get sick, it last longer and takes more of a toll on our body. Bass fishing, family, and friends help survive these delayed recoveries more than young people will realize until they get here. While laying on a stretcher not too long ago, I started laughing out loud. The nurses looked at me funny, as I was pretty sick. One of them asked, “What’s so funny?” I replied, “I was looking at the table over there trying to figure out how I would get my jig under it.” To this day, I’m sure she has no clue what I was talking about.
Friends and family, what do they mean to me? They are my lifeblood. The friends I have met through Ultimate Bass have evolved to my family; my extended family but I am closer to many here than I am others which share my genes. In this small community on the internet, I have met a few of the best people I know, the strongest people I know, warriors for our country, statesmen, honorable, caring people.
Listen to me younger generation, listen to an old man as he babbles. Coddle these relationships now, hold on to them, know these people we type too, read about, share our lives with. They are some of the greatest human beings we will ever meet on our journey through life. Don’t let them get away, embrace the friendships as they are real, and they will not let you down, this has been proven to me over and over in my short time here.
Bass fisherman, we are a different breed, we are us, the good, the bad, the ugly. Yes, we can be fiercely competitive, hard headed, strong willed and frankly knot heads, but by damn we’re what we are, we’re family.