We all remember our first. The time and patience required. The anticipation of the moment, the thrill of the pursuit and most importantly; that feeling when we realized it was going to happen. It’s a magical time and a memory that will carry us through a lot of long nights and cold winters. Of course, I’m talking about our first bass.
What had started this little trip down memory lane was a request from a new sponsor (www.scoutlookweather.com) to write my own bio for their web site. Thinking about my fishing career made me wonder how I ended up obsessed with the pursuit of bass and I realized that it all started with that first bass.
In my case, it’s one of my earliest memories. It was on a fishing trip with my father to a small farm pond. I remember walking around that pond and casting out my line and feeling like I was in search of the greatest treasure imaginable. I’m not even sure that I really understood what we were trying to do and I’m positive that you couldn’t even consider what I was doing actually casting, but I vividly recall that feeling of the hunt.
I remember the shape of the pond and the stump at the end of the dam where my life changed. The thrill when the cork went under and I realized that this wasn’t one of the little fish that we had been catching has haunted me since. It was a monster in my 5 year old eyes although; looking back on it, I’m sure it didn’t weigh more than 2 pounds. But that one bass was the most important fish of my life.
I’ve recreated that moment thousands of times with thousands of fish and the magic is still there. I don’t know what would have happened without that one fish but I can’t imagine life would have been as good. That one fish was the starting point. It began a life-long quest to understand everything about bass and a compulsion to catch every one that I got close to.
45 years later, that feeling is still there. Every time I cast, I feel like I’m on the best treasure hunt of all time. Like many of you, I can’t drive by a pond, creek, lake, river, reservoir or even the smallest drainage ditch without wondering if it might have bass in it and how good the fishing might be. Fortunately for me; through tournament fishing, I’ve found a way to not only find out about a lot of those places; but also to sometimes get paid for the experience.
As a new B.A.S.S. Open season rapidly approaches, I am once again filled with the awe of what life has brought me and the hope that that those treasured bass will once again be one the end of my line. This year, I’ll be in pursuit of the only bass that is more magical than my first bass, my next one.