When are the Good Old days?

My normal routine includes corresponding with fishermen of all walks and ages on an almost daily basis. Quite often they lament how so much has changed; crowded bays, tougher fishing, new regulations, coastal development a host of topics comparing the way things used to be.

I too yearn for times past in many respects, especially the crowds and development of coastal real estate in some areas. These types of change can be documented precisely, the number of boats utilizing a section of shoreline and buildings along the water's edge require no special powers of memory or perception.

Apart from faded photographs of highly notable catches, it seems the focus can become a bit cloudy as regards average quality of fishing results. I suppose it is only natural that great days and notable catches stick better in our memory than hard days of grinding no matter how young or old we are or were, and I am personally acquainted with but a few anglers that have maintained meticulous journals through their careers for comparison. We're just not wired that way.

So just when were those good old days and, just how truly good were they?

This question hits home particularly for me as I get more involved teaching grandkids the wonders of the Texas coast. I catch myself relating tales of great fishing, usually pertaining to the cove or slough we happen to be fishing that day, enjoying their reaction as they take every word for absolute gospel.

I also get a kick out of their stories told to family or friends of the fantastic trip we had yesterday, last summer or maybe two years ago. Two years is a long time ago in the memory of a ten year old definitely good old days material.

This past week I was reading a thread on a popular internet fishing site in which a 21 year old insisted the fishing in Galveston Bays has gone completely to hell and "Will never again be as good as when I was a kid." Now that's funny!

I try not to take myself that seriously; at least now that I'm old enough to recognize how selective my own memory can be at times.

The good old days, I'm convinced, are and will always remain in the eye of the beholder. In the eyes of my grandchildren every fishing trip is a grand adventure. Shortly after dark last evening they lined up under the pier lights as focused and hopeful as I would be in an exotic destination. Push-button reels hauling in small specks and hardheads filled them with glee about the same as a twenty-five pound Everglades snook would jack me up.

My good old days, at least the ones I used to cherish so greatly, are slowly giving way to the ones I'm making in the here and now. We cannot bring the old days back, but we can darn sure make the most of the fishing experiences we're living today. I pray I will live long enough to be a part of my great-grandkids "good old days."