The Love of Fishing

The Love of Fishing

I have heard the whispers; "he fishes for bass". "What is a walleye club member doing fishing for bass?" "He ain't a real walleye fisherman if he fishes for bass."

Yup, I fish for bass, perch, steelhead, pike and anything else that swims and how is it all those died in the wool walleye fishermen who whisper behind my back fish for perch, trout or cod? Are they not purists? Not hardly, I would think. I understand I hope we are all fishermen at heart and as I often say, "the tug of a fish is magic . . . " I hope it is what bonds us together, a brotherhood of fishermen.

Every time I fish I believe it is a tribute to my father and the lessons he taught me on the stream or on the lake in a boat. All the lessons were not about fishing often they were about life and I believe they have helped me through tough times and helped me recognize and enjoy the good times.

My dad worked two full time jobs most of the years I was growing up. Therefore, the times I got to spend with him fishing were very important. Those years were in the late 1950's and 1960's and we always talked about fishing for yellow pike and missed the days of the blue pike. Our fishing trips were not that regular with his work schedule. It seemed we would plan for weeks and hope the weather cooperated. We would fish for what ever was biting and seldom did yellow pike fit into that category. Lake Erie was fast becoming an open sewer at that time and yellow pike were not that common. We caught perch, lots of perch, and bass. Bass were exciting, jumping high out of the water, what more could a kid want?

I discovered the Mepps Spinner about 1960 and with it I caught a ton of bass. There was no other better lure for me. I would fish the "Docks" in Grandview Bay all summer long catching bass. When my dad had time we would go out to the "reef" in our 16-foot Pen-Yan and fish for bass with soft-shell crabs that I caught in Delaware Creek. To this day I remember a big bass that I had hooked that jumped clear over the bow of the boat and straightened the hook. We relived that story for years always wondering how much that bass would have weighed.

My first yellow pike came when I was 13 years old. I was fishing just outside the weedbed in Grandview Bay for perch when I caught that yellow. It was small about 15 inches but it was a yellow. That summer I would catch quite a few more off the "Point" near the "Docks" but it would take a long time before I would catch a big walleye. I caught my first six pounder in 1973 right in front of Sturgeon Point. I know it, because that was the year I sold my Starcraft Boat. I didnÕt own another boat until 1993.

The 20 years between 1973 and 1993 I experimented with all kinds of fishing. I took up salmon fishing on Lake Ontario, fishing out of my best friend Joe's boat. I fished the streams again as I did when I was a kid. I fished ponds for bass. I bet you I knew almost every pond in Western New York and had access to most. We have some great pond fishing for bass.

You may not think that stability is an important factor when it comes to designing in-line planer boards for walleye fishing, but the truth is, stability is probably one of the most important characteristics a walleye trolling board should have. Without it, the board would topple over at rest, be unable to plane cleanly in rough water, and generally would not perform adequately at the slow speeds we often use for walleye trolling.

I love my dad and if it weren't for him I would not be a fisherman today. I wish he could still fish today and we could share our passion for the sport. I love to fish. The tug of a fish is magic. It is hard to explain there is no other feeling like it. I am not sure if it is the mystery of what it could be or the feelings it stirs of the memories from my youth, fishing with my dad. I can assure you that every fish no matter how big or small I feel the same excitement as I did when I caught my first fish. When my father taught me to fish he gave me a gift that would last a lifetime. It is a gift I will pass on to others and someday to my grandchildren if I am blessed.

So I am a walleye fisherman, bass fisherman; a fisherman . . . say what you will but I wouldn't have it any other way, for the love of fishing.

by Tom Marks


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