I was a young man when I first realized fishing wasnít about fish. I was sitting on my grandparents couch slouched over with my hands covering my eyes. Iíd been fighting back tears for days knowing that my Grandpaís time with us was fading fast. To be honest Iím not sure why I didnít just let the tears go. Maybe I was afraid I couldnít stop, maybe it was me attempting to be manly before I knew what being a man was, or it could have been my Grandpa was a fighter and had recovered from heart issues in the pastÖhonestly I donít know.
I vaguely remember the hospice nurse telling everyone that Grandpa was almost ready to go. After that everyone took turns going into the room with Grandpa. I couldnít, I just sat there with my hands over my eyes afraid to look up. My mom had asked me a few times if I was ready to go in with GrandpaÖ I wasnít ready.
Iím not sure what came over me at that point. I left the house jumped into my car and started driving. I had no idea where I was going I just knew I needed to drive. I finally let go of my tears after I pulled out of the neighborhood and started sobbing. In retrospect it probably wasnít the safest thing to be driving like that, but I didnít have a choiceÖ I was on autopilot. When I finally came to I was in the parking lot of the ponds by Grandpaís house. The same ponds Iíd taken my first cast, caught my first fish, and ultimately realized I loved fishing. The same ponds where Grandpa had an answer for any question Iíve ever asked him. I walked onto the same dock Grandpa taught me so much on and just sat there for a few minutes staring into the water. After that I walked along the bank for a few minutes. I noticed some wadded up fishing line along the bank and picked it up. I didnít pick it up thinking it was anything significant, I picked it up because I know my Grandpa would have. The only difference is Grandpa would have put it in the trashÖwithout thinking I put the old line in my pocket.
When I arrived back at my Grandparents house I knew I was ready to go into the room with my Grandpa. My mom led me back into Grandpaís room and sat by my side while started telling Grandpa how much I loved him. Then without thinking I reached into my pocket and placed the old fishing line between my Grandpaís hand and mine. I spent the next few minutes holding my Grandpaís hand and talking about fishing like we always did. He wasnít responsive but he was listeningÖ Not sure if he was next to me or above me, but he was listening.
Shortly after that my Grandpa passed away in a room filled with everyone that loved him most. To this day what happened in that room when my Grandpa passed was the most beautiful thing Iíve ever witnessed. One day when I feel like Iím capable of capturing that moment in words Iíll share that story.
I still go to the ponds whenever life starts getting the best of me and Iím looking for answers. I walk along the bank knowing that Iím not alone and things will get better like they always do. Grandpa didnít only teach me a lot about life at those ponds, he also gave me a place to look for guidance. Fishing at least for me is about much more than just catching fishÖ
Fishing has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. Iíve committed myself to helping others not only catch more and bigger fish, but also enjoy themselves more while doing so.