Show Them the Light

Everett Johnson
My job offers unique and enjoyable opportunity to correspond with fishermen of all walks, experience and skill levels. Emails and letters arrive daily running a gamut of great fish tales, opinion and questions on best months and seasons to fish for whichever species, tackle and gear how-to queries, and occasionally just a quick "thanks for the magazine" comment.

The most common themes are how much we all enjoy this sport, what drew us to it, and how we love sharing it with others. I enjoy them all and strive to always be a good listener, offering my best advice and encouragement when and where appropriate. I occasionally get chewed out, not everybody agrees with what I or our other writers have to say all the time, but that's part of the job. I listen to boos as attentively as bouquets.

No doubt the greatest joy of fishing is catching and anglers always yearn for days when they bite like piranhas. But this doesn't happen often enough to be the only draw; there has to be something else that keeps us coming back.

Some of the most intriguing tales readers share describe long days of effort, sometimes a string of tough days, rewarded by one or two bites that produce memorable fish. This reinforces the premise that there will always be greater pride of accomplishment when we have to work hard for the prize.

Looking back over my guiding career, during which I fished with hundreds of people and liked to think of myself as a teaching guide above everything else, my proudest memories were made during "light bulb" moments. You've seen the light I'm sure, teaching and being taught, so you know light bulb moments are special.

Of course I had clients who came simply because fishing with a guide was supposed to produce more fish, and we had days when we caught plenty, made some fine memories too. But that light bulb thing thrilled me and stuck in my memory the most. The pride of accomplishment for me was in knowing I had enabled them to go out and do it again on their own. That's why I wanted to be a fishing guide and I still love teaching people to fisheven if they no longer write checks or call me Captain.

You love fishing or you wouldn't be reading this magazine.
So when the kiddos get out of school in a few weeks you need to get them on the water and show them why you love it. If you have no kids, borrow some. Always be patient and repeat lessons if necessary. Watch for that flash of light; that's when you know they got it!