April 30, 2019
Looking for the Perfect Graduation Gift?
Why Not a Charter Fishing Trip for the New Alum?!
Our youngest son is graduating next month and I have been racking my brain for the perfect gift to celebrate this milestone in his life. He has big plans for his future: an engineering job lined up in the city he went to college (a summer internship last year really helped him land the gig), and he’s focused on moving on to his next life stage (literally and metaphorically).
I can feel the stress emanating off him every time we talk. And I want to tell him: “It will all be okay; everything will work out. The hard part is over… it’s all but for the living now.” And I want to give him a graduation gift that will best send this message. And that’s why I’m considering giving my son a charter fishing trip as his graduation gift. Here’s why…
My son and I have been on several inshore fishing trips in the Gulf of Mexico; so I know he loves this fishing trip; and hopefully knows this lesson. Depending on the season, and what fish are biting, determines if we have a good day on the water… or not. But really, it all comes down to how we react to the empty hooks. If we focus on how many lines we broke or the fish that got away, we come back to the dock as grumpy men. But if we adjust our perspective, and focus on the time we got to spend together fishing, or the inside jokes we have about lost hooks… then we’re smiling – even without that beautiful Snook in our hands.
I’m considering a Bass fishing trip as my son’s graduation gift; simply because we haven’t done this trip as often as I’d like… and there’s a really great lesson about timing here waiting for him. If you’ve ever tried setting the hook on a largemouth bass, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. The fish will nip at the bait first – and your initial reaction is to jerk the line and start reeling. But you can’t… because the fish isn’t on the hook yet. You have to WAIT… wait for the fish to bite (and it’s a very subtle pull), THEN start dragging in your line and reeling in the fish. It’s one of my favorite metaphors in life… don’t jump on something too soon. Whether it’s the latest fad or newest trend. Wait. But don’t wait too long, or the fish (read: OPPORTUNITY), may swim away with your bait.
There’s also the option of a deep sea fishing trip. One of my favorite professional fishing charters launches out of Islamorada, and while it’s a bit more expensive, it’s definitely worth the experience. I always have a great time offshore fishing, trolling for Mahi or Marlin. But I’ve learned that some fishing trips don’t always end with landing the monster gamefish. There’s a reason it’s called fishing; not catching…. And there’s ripples of this in every area of life. I want my son to know that even though we may not come home with our personal best – putting in the effort and giving it our all is worth it every time. We may not come home with the biggest fish reeled in from the depths, but we’ll probably come home with enough for dinner; and that’s something to be proud of.
Last Spring I tried my hand at the ever elusive tarpon… booked myself a tarpon fishing trip for my wife and myself with a Professional Fishing Guide in Mosquito Lagoon, FL. I’ve been trying to talk my son into going ever since. You want to talk about going against the flow? The Tarpon swim any which way, even jump while on the line. I thought fishing was a relaxing hobby until I tried tarpon fishing. And that’s when I realized the appeal…. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the quiet lake fishing with my favorite spincaster. But the chase of a Tarpon (and adrenaline kick that comes with it) is really appealing. And that’s what I want for my son – choose the adventure sometimes! Which leads me to my final life lesson…
My son talks about learning Bow Fishing… a new trend among his friends. Maybe they’ve watched Legolas from Lord of the Rings too much, or Hawkeye from the Avengers? But I guess there’s something about holding a bow and arrow and reeling in your catch that is next level of fishing? And I have to applaud their willingness to go out there and try new things. They are choosing the adventure and trying new things. So whether it’s bow fishing, kayak fishing, or some other new-to-you technique, it’s worth trying! A lesson this old dog is still learning, if I’m being honest.
I still haven’t decided if we’ll go for the Largemouth Bass fishing trip, the adrenaline-pumping Tarpon fishing option, or the incredible deep sea fishing trip. I may try something new myself and learn more about bow fishing. Regardless of what fishing trip we choose, I know that we’ll have a great time. My plan is to book a trip with a Professional Fishing Guide, who I know will take time to show us the ropes (or knots), and our day on the water will be filled with memories that will last us a lifetime. And maybe I won’t wait until his next big milestone for a charter fishing trip; these are good life lessons at any stage of life.
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