The End of the Trail

Jake Haddock
The End of the Trail
Author's friend Newsome with a large red.

It seems like just the other day when I was flipping through this magazine and something caught my eye. It advertised that the position for a youth writer was open. I thought to myself, this could be my shot into the professional world of fishing. One essay and two years later, here I am. I've written many articles during this time. I've written everything from tall tales to informative pieces. All in all, this has been a great experience and a phenomenal opportunity. I mean, how many people can say that during high school they were youth writers for TSF magazine. I believe the answer is three so far, including me. I feel very honored to be one of those people. My run is coming to an end and it is my turn to pass the torch.

There are many people I need to thank for all the help and support they have given me over my youth writing career. First, I need to thank some family members that have helped me edit my articles over these couple of years; my Mom, my sister Katy, and my brother Chad. I would also like to thank my sister's good friend Marina, who helped me so much in the beginning with editing. It has definitely been a joint effort to produce an article each month. I want to thank the following companies that believed in me enough to let me advertise their awesome products; Bad Bull Fish Sticks, Flats Cat Boats, Fish Slick Stringers, and Hogie Fishing Lures. You guys are great and I really appreciate all the support. I also want to thank anyone that has approached me on the water, out in public, or on Facebook just to compliment my articles. You guys are awesome and thanks for reading. The feedback I got from readers gave me the confidence and drive to keep writing each month. Last, but not least, I also want to thank my father for teaching me how to fish when I was just a young lad. He's always supported me in everything that I've wanted to do.

One of my goals growing up is to appear on the front cover of TSF magazine with a big boss trout. I thought for sure that I would get that opportunity while being the youth writer. As my luck would have it, I haven't caught a "cover trout" since I started writing, so go figure. Hopefully, you will see my bright smile on the cover before too long.

Now, I can't leave my readers without one last fishing story. Over this past spring break, I had the chance to take my cousin, Dylan, and our friend, Tyler Newsome, out on my boat in Port O' Connor. We set out in hopes of getting some good pictures for this article and to do a little scouting. You see, we challenged a re-match to my uncles that had beaten us in a friendly competition last Spring Break, so that we did. It didn't take but a few hours and we were already on big fish (trout and reds), so we pulled off to leave them for the tournament the next day. We headed back towards the boat ramp making a few stops along the way, but nothing compared to the other spot. Just like any good fisherman would do, we started the smack talk as soon as we got back to both of my uncles, Max and Mitchell, describing how we found the winning fishing hole.

The next day, we went back to our fish to earn our bragging rights. Thankfully, the trout were still there and we caught our three quickly. That was the trout limit we set in the beginning of our competition. The redfish, however, were nowhere to be found. I knew this was bad since, I didn't see reds anywhere else the day before. To make matters worse, our only competition just happened to pull up in the same lake we were in. We both ended up leaving because the fish had simply vanished. We parted ways with our competition, and wouldn't see them again 'till we met at the dock. We strived to pull out a few big redfish, but we just couldn't find a single one. When we got to the dock, Mitchell and Max both had grins on their face. We were done. I just knew it. Sure enough, they pulled out numerous big reds and trout. The old and wise beat the young bucks again. Tough loss, but I couldn't help but crack a smile.

Alright guys, I hope you enjoyed it. It has been a pleasure to write for 'yall these past two years. It is the end of the trail for me as your youth writer. See you on the water!