My first cast net was made by my uncle in Apalachicola, FL. I am not sure who was more proud of this beautiful four foot treasure made of nylon, lead-line, and strong smelling lacquer. After all, I am sure this was the smallest net he had ever made.
Soon, after practicing my throw in the thick St. Augustine grass, my parents and I were off to a week's vacation on the Gulf of Mexico. We were renters of a cottage right on the bay with a dock that extended out into dark water.
In preparation for fishing, I was slathered with Sea & Ski, sprayed with DEET, and tied into an over sized orange life vest that gave me whiplash and a headache. It was to protect me if the lead-line threw me into the water. I was more likely to break my neck than drown.
Once on the dock, my very first throw was off. As the net left my hands and teeth, it's shape was thin and pulled me close to the railing. That was that! My Mom insisted that I wade in the thick smelly mud until I mastered balance. This did not deter my enthusiasm. I loved everything about that day. My Mom and Dad happy to be on vacation, the water, the sun, the mud, the shiny glistening grass, the late morning heat, and the general feeling of all is right with the world. That day began my love for fishing.
Along with the net, I tried various rod and reel combos; however, my first was the push button Zebco. My patience waned with the salt and sand crippling the clicker. So, I advanced to an open bail. The action was pretty simple with two positions - open and closed. I learned to cast and my bottom fishing paid off in Catfish and Whiting.. In order to catch bigger and better fish, I needed to learn THE REST: And the rest is history.
When, Where, How, What, TO FISH..........Thank goodness this changes with the seasons, the lures, the tides, the moon, the grass, and you know the rest - The pursuit of the best fish!
Take your child, neighbor, or a friend fishing first chance. These memories last a lifetime.