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Professional Kayak Fisherman and Step Parent

Posted by Donald Corbett on 12/1/2015

I joke about the title because these two things seem to be the things that plague me most. By no means do I see myself as a professional in either case. At some point anyone who does well in tournaments or competing in anything sits back and thinks can I make a run at this? I was that guy. I won four tournaments last year and placed in three more. I was on top of the world. This year I finished 5th overall for the year in the River Bassin trail as well as notable finishes in others but somewhere along the line of working too hard and fishing too hard I lost track of what really matters.

Recently I made time and I stress that because I have none to visit one of my best fishing friend’s son. It was Rowan’s birthday and I try not to miss things like that. The day started off rough as normal like any household of people. Some people not ready and taking their time etc. Well finally my girlfriend, her son Lopez, and myself left for the party. Here’s where that whole stepdad thing kicks in. I’m a terrible step parent and more often than not we don’t get along. We have some mutual level of respect but overall it’s not great. Today we headed off to my buddy’s house with the expectation of fishing. Lope somehow knew I was the guy for this job and kept asking when we could fish. I kept telling him we have to wait until after the birthday stuff so we aren’t being rude fishing during the party. Finally we went out to the dock and he’s trying to launch a frog across a super shallow mat on a lake that was down due to lack of rain. About an hour later as I’m watching from a distance I notice he’s still at it. At this point I’m beginning to wonder what changed. He couldn’t last more than 15 minutes or so in the past. I walked back over to the dock and we started talking about what he was doing and he was so determined. As I think about this more I wonder did a 7 year old set out that day to change our relationship? Did he make an effort that I was struggling to? Maybe I’ll never know but none the less my buddy Noah came down and said we needed a kayak to get out beyond the shallow stuff. Next thing I know Noah has us set up with life jackets and a Cruise 10 ready to do some fishing. I took Lope out on the lake and he fell in love.
No complaining, no whining, he just wanted to fish. Finally when we came in, he didn’t want to quit! I knew I had made a new fishing partner. The change in our relationship was almost instant. He rushed home a few days later to show me a journal entry he had written in school about fishing and I could sense he was looking for my approval. All of a sudden he seemed to care what I thought and the hugs became more frequent.

The whole morale of this story is if ever you start to feel fishing has lost its joy just take a kid fishing. If you have a child in your life that you need to bond with take them fishing. The look on their face will quickly bring back to you the moment you started to love fishing. After that it will all just make sense again. Don’t be surprised if you see Lope and I together on the water next year and if so feel free to come say hi!