Share Your Passion

What a fashionable hat.
     How many times have you been talking about fishing and had somebody say, "I used to fish" or "that looks like fun, but I don't have the gear."  It happens to me quite a bit and recently I decided to do something about it.
     A friend and coworker of mine named Richard, who has listened to me carry on for years about the great fishing we have here in Madison finally accepted my invitation to get outside and catch some fish.  He has seen my photos, read my blog, and he even spent some time fishing when he was younger.  The only issue he had was a lack of gear and no local knowledge about where to fish.  I told him to get a fishing license and he could borrow some of my gear to get started.
     After a few trips around town, and relearning how to cast a line, he began catching fish.  The fish were small, but they were fun to catch on an ultralight rod.  Eventually he purchased a rod and was only borrowing my lures.  Soon to follow was a tackle box and then some lures of his own.
First Largemouth
     Then it happened, as we walked along the shore one day he said, "How do I catch one of those big fish?"  He wanted a brag worthy fish, a fish he could show off.  I explained that most big fish were earned.  That he would need some heavier gear, some time to practice the fundamentals, and some dogged determination.  He set to work learning to use a baitcaster, figuring out the easiest way to fix the dreaded birds nests, and how to work the casting angles that allow shore fisherman to find the bigger fish.  He progressed right in front of my eyes.  He was getting better everyday and I knew that soon I would have to take him to one of my favorite spots.
     So when we made plans to meet up the other morning he swung over to my place and asked where we were gonna be fishing.  I told him that I thought we should head down to the break wall knowing that the weeds were finally getting established and that the fish would be in them.  After a few casts I had a nice musky come charging up through the weeds and swipe at my Hawg Spanker bucktail.  "What was that!" he said, "it chased that bait like a shark!"  I said, "this is a place were the big fish hide."  We continued to fish making our way up and down the break wall, each taking turns casting to the best spots.  Then suddenly he shouted, "I got something! and it's big!"
     I turned around and saw his rod bobbing up and down wildly as he fought the fish.  As I ran down the break wall to help him land it, I noticed how well he was fighting the fish.  That fish ran back and forth along the wall giving his pole a real workout.  The drag was screaming as it made lunge after lunge in an attempt to get free.  Finally hanging over the side of the break wall on my stomach the Lucid Fishing Grips hit their mark.  I pulled the fish up over the wall and we both watched as the lure dropped free from its massive mouth.  If it had made just one more run it would probably have been lost.  I handed him the fish and we fired off a few pictures.  He was smiling ear to ear as he released it unharmed and he proudly exclaimed that it was the biggest fish he had ever caught!
33inch Northern Pike.
     Catching a big fish is a life changing experience for a fisherman.  It's like joining an exclusive club, it is something to be rightly proud of.  When I got to work that night he was already showing off that pike and basking in the well deserved congratulations. I couldn't help but think of how this whole thing started with an invitation to go fishing.  It made me wonder how many of these opportunities I have missed over the years.  Getting new people into the sport is a great way to share your passion, to help justify all the hours we spend on the water.  As I headed out the door at the end of my shift I overheard a familiar conversation.  It was Richard inviting a coworker to come out for a day of fishing.  If you ever get the chance to share your passion with others be sure to take it.  You could be the spark that lights the fire.
     Tight Lines.

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