By Scott Grieble, SaraBella Fishing Chief Production Officer
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised and enlightened by a day with my teenage son……….let me explain. I have three children, 21, 18 and 16 — 2 sons and a daughter. All are very active with school, summer jobs, sports, friends, girl friends, boy friends, etc. and it is a challenge to get all of them in one spot to have a family meal not to mention traveling 3+ hours to a semi remote location to fish. As I began to plan a summer fishing trip, I skeptically shared the dates and itinerary with my family. I expected to be met with lukewarm enthusiasm and a laundry list of activities that were in direct conflict with the trip. To my surprise, they all responded favorably, to adjust their busy schedules to spend some time fishing with me.
This year we planned a day-long float on a very special river. This was nothing short of an amazing day, and an experience we will never forget. My 18 year old son and I shared a boat, which was a huge thrill. Neither of us had ever floated before, and I was excited to spend the day with him doing something that we both love. The day was beautiful, the water was perfect, and the company was awesome.
It took a while for us to get into a rhythm and after a number of snags, full break offs and some calm coaching by our guide we
settled down and focused on the task at hand. I have a tendency to be overly focused when I fish and become all too consumed in the challenges of making the perfect cast and presentation. Today wasn’t any different at first, but not long into the day, I found myself paying more attention to my son, the scenery, and the wildlife that surrounded us. My objective for the day was to get my son on as many fish as possible and hopefully land a few as wel. He had been consistently shut out on this particular river and we wanted to break that trend. Our guide quickly picked up on this and did a fantastic job of putting him in situations where he would have the best opportunity to hook up.
When the day was done my son had landed 3 fish; we were thrilled. We spent the day talking, laughing, enjoying our beautiful surroundings and most importantly, spending time together. I’m a sucker for tradition and this day was the start of a new one for us. We vowed to continue this tradition, and I know we will be true to that — just like playing pond hockey in the winter, summer camping trips, and all being accomplished at driving vehicles with manual transmissions. Yes, we have some strange traditions but they are ours.
The enlightening part of the journey may not truly be enlightening but more reinforcement of something I have observed when we take the time to fish together. In a world where we are constantly plugged in (especially teenagers), social media, texting, email, etc, we seem to be eternally distracted and unable to focus for greater than 30 seconds at a time. This day, like all of our other days spent fishing, allowed us to unplug and spend time away from all of the distractions of the world. This was reinforced by the fact that during our day on the water our phones only came out to snap a photo of a caught fish, bald eagle flying overhead or friends and family that spent the day with us. I can’t exactly explain why or how but I can tell you that spending time like this away from all distractions with people that I deeply care for in a beautiful place is good for my soul.
My son is at a point where he will be away at college next year, and consumed with responsibilities and activities that will allow for few spare minutes in his life….but I know that we will always find time to fish together and to continue to strengthen these traditions that we have started together and, most importantly, pass along to future generations.