Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Son Grows Up Fishing

Shark in Rockport Texas
Smallmouth bass on Dale Hollow Lake, Kentucky

What makes an amazing fishing trip? The obvious would be catching not just fishing but I would take it a step farther. How do do you know you have had that special trip? It's when you remember your guide, the stories he or she tells, the way he made the process of finding the fish and how vivid your memories are of the day.

I have watched my son grow from a young child with his first bass to a teen who could teach me a thing or two about fishing. He has a certain instinct about it and a knack for not only finding the fish but his stance and technique defies his age.
Chasing the Redfish in Rockport, Texas
Our first big trip was to Rockport Texas, I wanted to get him on a school of Redfish.  Lanny Phillips of Tigernet Fishing guide service found us a great school and my son was hooked. Lanny was a fireman and a baseball player with many stories to tell. We enjoyed his company as much as the limit of reds and my son caught a hammerhead shark, a speckled trout and a batfish. I did a painting from this particular trip.
A Respectable Brown Trout on the White River near Mountain Home Arkansas
The next trip we took was for trout on the white river near Mountain Home Arkansas. After a bit of over muscling smaller fish with lighter hits and weaker mouths than the bass he was accustomed to, he got the knack. Again the guide was very knowledgeable of the river and we learned a lot about catching trout and much about the area.

The next trip we took was an unplanned trip on  a party boat, unfortunately we didn't catch anything but the amazing blue water and being out on the oil rigs was an experience we still talk about to this day.

tarpon I landed-Good news, he lived to fight another day
When we went to the Florida keys we did two trips, one for Peacock bass, in the canals near Miami, and a bay trip for tarpon, we were successful on both but they were unique experiences. We learned various techniques from each and enjoyed amazing conversation and scenery.

Since we first started fishing together we have bought kayaks. Kayaks change the whole experience and add to our conversations and memories.

We have caught stripers and sand bass at Lake Texoma, watching them boil as they surround your kayak is quite a memorable experience. We have enjoyed speckled trout in Cape San Blas  Florida and Chain Pickerel in the cold waters of Lake Daingerfield.

Sight Fishing for Peacock Bass in the canals near Miami

 Unfortunately I will admit, I have been skunked more than he has, again he has a certain instinct for catching when no one else is, but I wouldn't trade a day of fishing for anything. I have watched him grow from a young excited kid happy to catch his first bass to a teen who gets annoyed when I interfere with him in his zone.

I have watched him with a certain awe as he throws plastics and artificials while looking down his nose at bait and bobber fishing. I still love the bobber as it brings back memories for me.
I am excited for future trips with him, as long as I don't cramp his style there will be more to write about and more memories to share. Remember catching is only half of the amazing, bonding experience that is fishing-so get out there with your son or daughter and go fish, you'll be glad you did.

His first bass- this is one of the smaller ones he caught.

Paradise Found: Gatlinburg and Beyond

After a very long trip across the country, I have fallen in love with Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It's a ski town with the gondolas to the top of the mountain, views of the Great Smoky Mountains and a trout stream that runs through the town.

We first visited Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, a wonderful tour of beautifully designed exhibits along with interactive exhibits for the kids to get up close and personal with sharks and rays. Next we went to the Ripleys' Believe It or Not and running through a cold rain in the middle of the Smoky Mountains was a memorable experience.

The next day was an experience we almost missed. As we were driving up the road into the Great Smoky Mountains we realized the higher we got the more ice was hampering travel. Carefully we proceeded but they closed the road as several cars wrecked both going up and coming down.

It's hard to impress a fifteen year old but think he was extremely impressed with the landscape. The snow capped mountains and the sprawling snow covered landscapes offered so many opportunities to photograph, unfortunately for me my camera was not working and my son was the photographer for the trip.

We finally ended up on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, at an altitude of 5046. I wanted to walk the Appalachian trail but it was very cold and my son was more interested in having a snowball fight.

My original intent for this trip was to explore many
waterfalls, I mapped them out for weeks but you must be open and allow for change when you''re on a  road trip especially with a stubborn teen intent on fishing. Instead of waterfalls we both got our exercise walking the lengths of a
stream, he fished and I just relaxed and followed along.

I am definitely planning another trip out to the Great Smokies only just like Yosemite perhaps a trip to Gatlingburg for a week in the Smokies-this is why we do such a large scope of a trip; exploring for later going back to specific places to enjoy. The Great Smoky Mountains would definitely be one of my favorite places we've visited.

Artistgordon - Find me on