• 72°

The end of a once promising career

Mark Twain once wrote, “do not tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” Well, at the risk of offending Samuel Clements (his real name), I am venturing into a personal fish story.

Growing up in Baldwin County, I had the fortune of spending my misspent youth traipsing through the woods and swamps on what is actually know as Fish River.

Many a summer was spent canoeing, camping and fishing when I wasn’t in the midst of my chore list.

At that age, I wasn’t a very discriminating fisherman hunting for a particular fish. I would be proud of every catch, bringing anything caught on the fishing line to my mother.

But, as I grew up, what appeared to be a promising fishing career, which could have led to next February’s Bassmaster’s Classic on Lay Lake, came to an unexpected end.

I went from catching anything and everything and bringing my proud trophies home to nothing, just watching my bait and hook drift along wanting.

For the most part, I gave up the hobby of fishing, moving on to other interests that seemed to bring more success.

It wasn’t until years later that I discovered why my once good fishing luck came to an end. It was my father.

Apparently, he and my mother quickly tired of me bringing home my water-borne bounty, leaving them to find out what to do with it. As a way to stop that from happening, instead of asking me to start catching and releasing, he quietly cut all the barbs off my hooks, allowing me to hook a fish but not reel it in.

I don’t think the decision changed the direction of my life very much, but I do feel he neglected the world of a fantastic angler.