I fish several days out of each week year round and lately it has just become routine for me. In the past I have loaded up my son and taken him out between soccer practices, boy scouts and basketball. Recently I purchased his own kayak for him and he has loved being out on some of the ponds and lakes that grace our region. However, today we were going out on the big water, the York River. All week he was excited and couldn't stop talking about it and telling his friends. The day we picked was perfect, light winds and an overcast sky combined with an incoming tide. As we unpacked at the ramp, he could hardly contain himself. His excitement was contagious. It reminded me of when I was his age and went off my dad and granddad on their fishing trips. Soon I found myself just as giddy as he was. It was a magical feeling that had somehow abandoned me in my adult life.
As we paddled out of the protected creek leading to the river, he commented on everything he saw, from the mansions that dotted the creek banks to the tall ships at the marina. As we entered the York River, schools of jumping mullet entertained us on our paddle out to our "secret spot". We anchored up and cast our lines, a Gulp and shrimp combination. From our first cast to our last we reeled in countless numbers of croakers. Considered by many to be a lowly fish, to him each one seemed to be a prize fish. We spent the next couple of hours talking about fish, sports, school and watching a wide array of minnows, crabs and all sorts of jellyfish swim by in the current. As the moon rose over the river and the current came to a halt, we pulled up anchor, collected the dozen or so 12"-13" croaker we kept for dinner and paddled back through the stillness of the night.
Back at the ramp he surveyed our catch and picked out the ones he caught and commented on how his were bigger then mine. He helped me load up and as we drove home he became quite. I looked back and he was sound asleep in the backseat. As I carried him upstairs, I wondered, did I teach him a little about fishing today or did he teach me how to rekindle that excitement that had escaped me since I was a boy.
by Forrest Short