I returned home from vacation Saturday only slightly worse from the wear of sleeping on my mom’s sleeper sofa for two weeks.
Vacations these days mean spending as much time as possible with Mom, who celebrated her 82nd birthday June 26.
We had hoped to make a trip to the mountains, but her health didn’t allow us to travel the 500-plus miles from DeLand to Tennessee or North Carolina.
We did manage to take a trip to Port Canaveral with my 8-year-old great-nephew, Connor.
'WORTH THE WAIT'
The trip's purpose was to take Connor to a free fishing clinic offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and sponsored, in part, by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration.
I learned about the clinic through an email I received from the FWC.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the clinic. We arrived at the designated terminal about 10 a.m. to be greeted by a line long enough to make Disney’s Magic Kingdom proud.
But the day was about Connor and the opportunity for him to learn how to fish.
It took about 90 minutes for us to make it to the terminal, where stations were set up to teach children knot tying, the basics on bait and tackle, casting and a touch tank.
After completing the final station, each child was given a free rod and reel along with bait to try their hand at fishing.
The look on Connor’s face told me it was well worth the wait. It was his first time to put a line in the water and he quickly figured out the proper casting techniques.
Unfortunately, Connor didn’t catch anything that day, and circumstances prevented me from taking him fishing another time during my visit.
Watching Connor, I was reminded of my first fishing experience with an old cane pole on the banks of Grenada Lake in north Mississippi.
I was about 4 years old at the time, and I was fishing with my grandparents.
I don’t remember if I caught anything, but I do remember being stung by a big old red wasp as I was putting some bait minnows back in the lake.
These days, I don’t do much fresh water fishing. I prefer to go for a flounder or a sea trout off a pier or dock in Fort Walton Beach or Navarre.
As I’ve mentioned before, my dad wasn’t a fisherman, but he did have friends that instructed me on the basics of the sport that has given me a lifetime of enjoyment.
A tried-and-true saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him once. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I believe that statement is only partially true. Yes, if you teach a person to fish they will have a means for feeding themselves and their family.
But if you teach them to fish they also will have a hobby to enjoy in the great outdoors the rest of their lives.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.