Dads and grandpas get a lot of credit whenever I talk to anglers about getting their starts on the water. Don’t get me wrong, my dad and grandad took me fishing all the time. But they certainly weren’t the only ones. My grandmother on my mom’s side was no stranger to fishing, because she owned a little bait and tackle shop in Trenton, NJ. Since my mom grew up in the house connected to that tackle shop, she was no stranger to dipping minnows for customers and packing night crawlers in the basement. There were many, many weekends and afternoons after school spent fishing with my mom and grandma during my childhood, and looking back on it, my mom was a really good sport.
I say that because even when I was little, I was a tireless fisherman. A few hours was never good enough. I wanted to be there all day. Now, my dad was a trooper, but when he decided it was time for a nap or lunch, we were done. But mom would bait hooks, take sunfish off the line, cut squid, and help me fill buckets with crabs and minnows and snails from sun up to sun down. In fact, we would rent a house at the Jersey Shore for two weeks every summer and never spend a single day on the beach, because I insisted on spending every waking hour at a dirty bulkhead on the bay catching snapper bluefish and blueclaw crabs. Mom diligently packed up the tackle at the end of each day, boiled up my crabs, and did it all again at an unGodly hour the next morning.
In putting this post together, I must admit I’m slightly disappointed in the photo support. Those shots were taken on a family vacation in New Hampshire, but they don’t capture the true essence of a mom-and-me outing. There are dozens and dozens of photos of me holding flounder and eels and bluegills from all those years…but mom was always behind the camera. I couldn’t find a single picture of us together with a fish. In the end, though, the memories are what matter most, and I’ve got plenty of them. So thanks Mom, and I’ll apologize now for the late dinner we’re going to have this Sunday because I’ll be striper fishing in the morning. You understand.
If your mom or grandmom played a role in you becoming an angler, tell us about it and give ’em a shout-out. And if you want to read some more stories of outdoor moms from our editors and contributors, check out our Mother’s Day Tribute here. Have and great weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, fishy or otherwise.