Like golf, fishing is a mental game. I love playing golf, because it’s you and your wits against the course. You are your own biggest challenge. The same can be said about fishing. It’s you and your wits, skills, patience, adeptness against a fish with a brain smaller than a pea. It’s very challenging and very rewarding. You are your own toughest competition. Being a highly competitive and very ambitious person, I love these types of challenges.
I first got into fishing when I was about 10 years old. We were at a family camp and I was watching some of the older teenagers (14-16 year olds) fish with their fishing rods and reels. I didn’t have one and they weren’t too keen on letting us fish using their equipment. They let one kid try, and he hooked one of them in the back of the neck on a cast. It was horribly painful. So they wouldn’t let us fish.
I was still determined to fish. I found it so fascinating. I went back to the pond (and creek that ran through it) and found old fishing line and hooks discarded on the ground. I tied them to a stick, dug up some worms, and started catching some fish. My love for fishing blossomed at that very moment!
At age 14, I got my own rod and reel from a local store called Anderson’s which was nothing more than a beginning spinning rod and reel combo that probably cost no more than $20-30 bucks. Surprisingly, I still have that rod and reel today. The tip of the rod is broken off, but I still own it and cherish it, because it’s what got me started. I don’t use it, but it has sentimental value.
When I was 13 years old, my father’s business would take us all out onto a Lake Erie charter boat to fish for walleye. Everyone would catch fish and they even cleaned them for you. It was an awesome experience. We had to buy tons of walleye lures, called Erie Dearies, and I kept all the leftover lures. I still had many of them up until this past summer when I was cleaning out my old tackle box and threw out my 22 year old Erie Dearies that were now deformed, melted, or broken.
As time went on, I’d fish whenever I could. Throughout high school and college, I’d fish rivers, ponds, and any time I got a chance. In my college years, I really got into the Maumee River walleye fishing run and would take my baby brother, Sinan, wading into the ice cold water, fishing for walleye. It was a lot of fun. Over the years, I accumulated a lot of fishing gear and lures and have been adding to that collection since then. I even bought books on fishing. I had twenty books on fishing for all different species of fish. I still have those books today. I love reading and love books.
After college, I got married, moved away to Chicago for medical school and medical training and never had time to fish. After about ten years of medical training, I’d move back to Toledo, and found all my old fishing gear stored away in a lake house at my parents house on a small lake. My old tackle box was untouched. Pristine. Even ten years later. I grabbed some of my old rods and reels, and some jigs and went fishing. We’d catch a fish on almost every cast. And my love of fishing was re-ignited.
Over the years, I would continue to practice and hone my skills. I went back into my storage area and found my old box of fishing books. Some of the books were from 1996 or older, from back when I was in college. I have an 8 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. I take them fishing as often as I can. Since they can read and love books too, we went back through all my old fishing books and looked at the pictures and read them together. It’s very satisfying to be able to teach kids a new skill and see the excitement on their faces when they are successful and land their first big fish.
With the explosion of online video, learning to fish has become even easier. Previously, we had to read books, and sift through magazines, but no matter how much you read about a new technique, it’s not the same as watching someone demonstrate the technique on video. There are so many fishing channels on YouTube, that you could watch every second of every day for the rest of your life, and never finish all of the material. My kids and I have stayed up many nights watching YouTube videos on fishing, fishing techniques, new lures, ways to fish old rules, ways to cast better and further, and all sorts of fishing (and non-fishing) educational videos. It’s incredible what online video has done to improve accessibility of educational material to the masses.
Which brings us to today. I continue to try and fish as often as I can. Spending time with my kids, my nieces and nephews teaching them how to fish properly. Trying to impart as much knowledge and experience as I can. Teaching a kid proper technique when they are young will help them develop good habits and good muscle memory. I see so many adults fishing improperly, I wonder who taught them how to fish. I see people using the wrong bait, wrong line, wrong reels, not knowing how to cast properly, and all sorts of other beginner mistakes that they are still making as adults that have been fishing for over 20 years. They need to utilize YouTube and go back to basics. Especially, casting properly.
I’ve been very blessed to be able to fish often and have enough patience to teach children (and doctors) the many skills and techniques involved in fishing. It brings me great joy! I consider myself a very advanced fisherman, especially largemouth bass fishing. It’s my favorite fish to try and catch. So challenging, yet so rewarding. I can get bass out of almost any body of water.
Go out and fish! Take your kids and teach them this fun lil skill! You’ll thank me later.