"Pop! Pop! Let's go to the basement and look at your fishing lures!" My maternal grandfather, "Pop", must have heard these words or something very similar every day when I was little. I stayed with my grandparents during the day while my parents worked, and even at four years old the fishing bug had already bit me. My grandfather, who had the patience of a saint, would just smile and say "Ok, let's go take a look." We would go down stairs and sit on an old couch and Pop would open up the old metal tackle boxes that to my four year old eyes were treasure chests.
|Pop's Tackle Box|
|Bomber Water Dog - One of Pop's|
Pop was a fisherman for most of his life, and he used to have an old Johnson outboard motor in the basement that he would take up to Lake James or Lake Norman and put on a rental boat to fish. He often talked about buying his own boat, but by the time I came along Pop's fishing trips weren't as frequent and he never did buy a boat.
|Pop and six year old me with a trout|
He still loved to fish, though, and often in the summer he would take my cousin and me, along with my parents and my aunt and uncle to one of those trout ponds where you pay by the pound for your catch. These ponds were near either Marion or Little Switzerland, NC and we would have fun catching trout that would wind up on the grill that evening back home. I don't remember Pop fishing much on these trips. I think for him it was a way to help introduce us at an early age to fishing, and these ponds were about as close as you can get to nonstop action. I'm sure Pop wanted us to catch a lot of fish and have a good time without the chance of getting bored with fishing. I'm also sure that Pop couldn't have known at the time that when I got older, trout fishing would become one of my favorite pursuits, although now it's usually with a fly rod in mountain streams.
|The "Whopper Stopper"|
|Sea Trout Plug - aka MirrOLure|
Pop taught me a lot, and more than that he had the patience to tell me the same stories and look at the same old fishing tackle day after day. I'm sure he got tired of it, but he never let it show. I hope that I inherited some of his patience and understanding, because without a doubt I inherited his love for fishing.
There are several people that have had a major influence on my love of the outdoors, but my two grandfathers and my Dad were the earliest influences. I will always be grateful to all three of these men for their guidance and for the passion they instilled in me at a very young age. I hope someday to be able to pay it forward when I have children and grandchildren and help them the same way Pop helped me. Maybe someday they will have an old tackle box full of my lures, and a lifetime of memories.
Thanks for stopping by!