I recently read an interesting article in a popular Men`s Fitness magazine while travelling on an airplane with my family on route to our annual winter holidays, a place a bit warmer than Ontario during the Christmas break.
The focus of the article was about when certain athletes should retire from their respective sport or activities and it struck me that the one thing that WE as anglers have going for us is longivity.
I don`t mean we live forever like vampires for hundreds of years...lol, but instead our sport, passion, hobby and/or career can span from the first days of holding a fishing rod to our last days doing the exact same thing, holding a fishing rod and waiting for a fish to bite!
It does not matter if your eight years old, or eighty years old, the enjoyment of fishing just never goes away.
Fishing can also mean so many different things to so many different people.
You could be competing on the highest platform of tournament fishing on the BASS or FLW tours, or participating in weekend club events or buddy tournaments with your wife, girlfriend or best friend, operating a charter business inshore or offshore, or a lodge owner with vast amounts of dollars invested in equipment and operating expences.
You could be the CEO of a company trying to break into the high-dollar game of stakes, risk & smaller monetary reward within the fishing industry as compared to other athletic or professional sports.
You could be content just getting away every other weekend with your family or buddies just looking for some peace away from the rat race of phone calls, emails & text messages that usually fill our every waking moment.
It doesn`t matter how you look at it or say it, just mentioning or seeing the word FISHING, can fill a persons mind with all kinds of pleasant memories, aspirations or excitement.
For me personally, I know I have been blessed to be able to do what I do for a living, career and hobby.
I know when the camera`s get turned off many moons from now and I slip away from the spotlight of the mega media platforms, internet & television screens, I will continue to just "go fishing".
I love being an ambassador for the sport and I`ll always be a competitive angler, even if it means just competing against myself and those fish I choose to pursue.
I will always take the time out to talk to people who approach me about fishing.
I will always share my love, passion and experiences with anyone who wants to listen or learn more about fishing.
But, I will NEVER RETIRE from fishing!!
Fishing has afforded me many pleasant memories in the mind vault from my earliest childhood to my adult life, not to mention, it has also afforded me to provide for my family and travel to some great places and fish with even greater people along the way.
I get to use some of the best fishing equipment known to mankind thanks to my sponsors and supporters. Equipment that I know I could have never afforded back in the day.
I only dreamed of using such rods, reels, lures or electronics.
Heck, when I got my first boat, a small twelve foot tin banger, I couldn`t even afford an outboard on the transom, so I begged my father to buy me a tiny electric motor and single twelve volt battery so I could use it on smaller ponds close to our house.
The boat was so small, I could lift it onto my car`s roof racks by myself, and I can still remember how proud I felt driving down the road with MY OWN BOAT....going fishing... independence at last!
And now, I just have to go out into the garage and stare at my pimped out bass boat and gaze in amazement knowing this old tug of a boat is MINE!
It`s all wrapped up with flames, graphics and this big gas guzzling outboard on the back end, but got a huge overall a few years back so she can keep on floating my butt for years to come.
Having my own bass boat was not even in my dreams back when...it was just too much to even comprehend. She may not be new, she may not be perfect, but she sure helps me get the job done in a big way and she is MINE!
Fishing is what I LOVE, what I was born to do, what I was born to promote, teach and share with the people in my life... during my life... and after my life.
I have never stopped fishing and neither should you.
If I can give you one small piece of advice, its this: NEVER retire from the things you believe in. Keep fishing the good fight!