This week's guest blog is from my daughter, Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. Stephanie is a writer, photographer, and Master Gardener. She maintains a number of web pages for herself and others. See her work at http://www.stephaniesuesansmith.com/.
"It is easy to get caught up in the “tackle wars.” Remember that while nice tackle is cool to have, fishing is about making memories. Memories of catching fish, of spending time with kids and family, and of having fun.
Some of my earliest, and certainly best, memories are of fishing with my Dad. We fished on vacations all over North Texas. Sunfish are great to catch with little kids because they bite when nothing else does and there are usually a lot of them.
Kids get bored if they are not catching anything. So do adults, for that matter. Taking a kid bass fishing is an invitation to disaster. However, take the same kid fishing for sunfish and you can set them up for a lifetime of enjoying the sport.
Dad talked about the old men at Toledo Bend. I remember getting to go fishing and keeping my Dad busy unhooking sunfish and re-baiting hooks. With my sister and I fishing he could just barely keep up.
I also remember when we took the son of a friend of my parents fishing and he hooked a 13 pound catfish. I thought it was a log as it just didn’t move when I tried to free the line. My Dad managed to bring that big fish into the boat on a tiny hook and line that was not rated for that fish. I was afraid of the huge catfish and threatened to jump overboard if it came in the boat. Both the catfish and I made it to shore in the boat, but I was not happy.
I still fish. I went with Dad to Fairfield Lake and we caught sunfish so big they straightened the hook when we lifted them out of the water, and ended up flopping on the bottom of the boat about half the time. That was about a week before the fish kill that ruined that lake.
Recently we went to another lake reputed to have big fish and caught nothing but babies, but had fun spending time together. Just about the time we would get bored, a little school of babies would attack the bait and wake us up.
The point is that you can make memories with a cane pole and some string, or you can be miserable with the finest rod and reel, line, and terminal tackle in the world. Fishing is to enjoy yourself and make memories with your family, not “best” your buddies. So don’t feel you can’t go fishing without the stuff everyone else has. Get what you can, rig it correctly, and have fun."