My fondest memories growing up revolved around the summer fishing trips I took as a youth with my uncle and cousins. Those fishing excursions became the highlight of our summer. We would all get up really early, before the sun even came up, and we would pile in the truck and head to the lake for the weekend.
The drive appeared like it took forever to my eight-year old heart, even though we were only about an hour away from our home in Dallas, Texas. I am sure we just about drove my uncle crazy constantly asking, "Are we there yet"?
As we got closer to the lake, my cousins and I could hardly wait until the truck stopped before we were off and running towards the water. I can still hear my uncle saying in a cautious tone, "Boys, slow down. We have all weekend long to fish." Our eyes would get as big as the lake as the water drew closer and closer with each step.
Rods and reels bounced in every direction as we ran down the hill to the dock. "First person to catch a fish wins five whole dollars!" my uncle would announce. This would always get a really good conversation going away us boys. "I'm going to buy me a new toy when I win the five dollars." I would always say.
One summer, I got lucky! I was the first to get a bite. "I got one!" I yelled. Only to reel in a turtle that had fooled me into thinking I was going to set the lake record for the big catch. My older cousins laughed as I tried to figure out how in the world I was going to get the turtle off my hook, which convenientlyave them the edge they needed to win the prize money awaiting the first to make a catch!
After freeing my line of the very unwelcome visitor, I hurriedly cast my line only to see my cousin pull a bass from the water, dashing my hope of buying myself a new toy. Being the youngest of the bunch, my uncle would pat me on the back, as if to say, you'll get them next time.
As the five of us would sit by the dock with the sun shining right over us, there was something special that would happen. Even at a young age, my cousins and I could always feel the love my uncle had for "his boys," as he lovingly called us.
As the sun would set just over the hills, that signaled it was time to pack up for the night. "Uncle, can we please fish tomorrow?" I would always ask. In his deep voice, he answered with the sweetest words my ears waited to hear, "Yes son, we will start bright and early." And the next day, I did make the first catch!
Now, as a grown man, I have my own son. And whenever I feel the need to bond with my boy, we pick up a pool, find us a hole, and fishing is always just what the doctored ordered.
Start your fishing tradition, today. The memories of the time you share with those you love will last a lifetime.