Block of wood, cutting tools, and my grandfather’s old lathe. Block of wood already in place, spinning on the lathe. Chisel out the wood, fine-tune to size desired.
I stand there in awe of my older cousin’s creation. “What is it?” I ask. He hits me in the arm and says “It’s a fish-club, dummy!” “What’s it for?” I ask. He replies with one word – “Sheepshead” and another punch to my arm.
I was about eight years old and had no idea what a fish-club was or what a sheepshead was. But that is my first memory of fishing.
My uncle had a boat and would take my cousins fishing on Lake Erie all the time. When I got old enough, I of course wanted to be cool like my cousins and go fishing on the boat too. I only went a few times but soon found out what the “fish-club” was for. I still don’t really know what a sheepshead is but saw plenty of them get caught by my cousins and then bonked on the head with the club.
I’m not really sure how I felt at the time, but I must have felt something because those memories stick in my head to this day. I don’t think I ever did any clubbing, but that was my first experience as a fisherman.
Fast forward about 15 years, through the boy scouts and more camping and canoeing and a move to North Carolina…but not much fishing. A guy I worked with invited me out to his place to fish a nearby pond. I didn’t even have a pole or a tackle box or a single hook to my name. But, sitting near the water with a cooler full of beer and a floating bobber sounded like a nice relaxing way to spend an evening after work, so I went out and purchased a spinning setup.
I was sold – hook, line, and sinker. I went out and bought more lures and tackle than I could ever use, and another friend, Randy, bought a bass boat. It was a blast hitting different lakes in the area, entering a bass tournament or two and traveling out of state for a change of scenery. I wasn’t the best bass fisherman, but I was having a great time.
Then I had the opportunity to move to Denver, Colorado – the place I had wanted to live since I was 14 years old. That began the third phase of my fishing life – fly fishing.
I still pick up the spinning equipment now and again, but fly fishing has been my passion for almost eight years now. I could launch into a diatribe about how majestic and peaceful and calming and challenging and exciting fly fishing is, but if you’re reading this, you probably know that already. So the only thing to do now is finish my first blog post. Thanks for stopping by!