Just looking at this first picture brings to mind a rush of gratitude. Gratitude for this rad family I’ve been raised with. Gratitude for my outdoor lust, the insatiable craving I have to be outside in the fresh air, surrounded by blue skies and towering green trees. All is right in my world when I am in the woods. Gratitude for my constant striving to capture the world and its beauty. My grandpa is a phenomenal photographer, who took these photos. Gratitude for potential. The potential that calm waters brings. The potential a crisp autumn morning in a tree stand brings. The potential adventure waiting to unravel and unfold, creating a dynamic/mindblowing story. The potential of the bond. Hunting and fishing with my dad, brother, grandpa, great-uncles, cousins, nephews, and my dad’s childhood friends is something that connects us. It brings us together. A unique experience, bonding us together. I go back to my interview with dad about fishing. How he reflected on the stages of fishing. First you fish with your dad. Then you fish with your friends. Then you go back to fishing with your dad. Thus is the circle of life.
After doing a goose hunting blog with Dad and Trenton, I realized after a holiday on the lake, that I needed to do a fishing post. Fishing has such a rich history in my family. As dad pointed out, it is something that has been passed down. Just look at my great-grandfather’s. One owned a bait shop, the other was a great bass fisher and storyteller. Then you have my grandpa. My wonderful grandpa who belongs to the Fishing Hall of Fame. Who created the American Bass Fishing Institute. Who is a great bass fisherman. Who teaches (taught) fishing. Who spends a month fishing with his brothers in Texas each year. Then you have my father. My father who was raised by fishermen. Who catches all fish. Who teaches my nephews. Who is a storyteller.
Fishing builds family bonds. It transcends all ages. It keeps them connected.
These are some of the wonderful things my father shared with me when I asked him: why fishing? Why is it so important? Why is it special? His keys to catching fish?
Fish where the fish are. Very little of the water holds fish. Find the spot on a lake where the fish are. Then present the fish with something that makes them bite.
Sounds pretty simple right? What do you want the boys (my nephews, his grandsons) to take-away from you when it comes to fishing?
There are some instances where the similarities between my father and I ring out loud and clear. This enjoying the fishing, be present stuff is what we live for. As I sit here writing, I also reflect back to the adventure. These moments with the boys are so special to me. Little bits of treasure that I hold onto. Videos and photos ingrained into my brain of them so young and innocent. The excitement that just illuminates their faces when they look up at me once they’ve reeled in their fish. The pure enthusiasm and joy ringing their voices as they exclaim, “Brittany! Brittany look at this fish. Isn’t this a big fish?” The moment where I get to still be the cool aunt. The moment they don’t mind hanging out with me. The moments when they’re not serious adults, trying, but kids on a lake just happy to be fishing with their grandpa and aunt. What a true blessing. I think too of how much better food tastes when you have this connection to it. When there is history. When there is family and connection. When there are stories. When you’ve fought the fish. When you’ve reeled it. When you can dress it up and toss in a skillet.
To me this is what I love about food. This is what I love about cooking. I love going to the market. I love meeting farmers. I love being in the woods in November. I love being on the lake and bringing home a slew of fish for my mother. Her smile as she leans down to ask the boys about their day. Then having Trenton and Gavin out shout each other as they real into their stories. Create these moments. These food stories. These food connections. Go catch dinner!