What came first, the fish catch or the story? I love to imagine that the very first fish catch ever was immediately followed by an epic fish story. However, what inspired the first fish catch? Was it a story about the possibility of catching fish? Regardless legends and legacies were born from that first fishing trip, and they are still being born today.
Fishing is undoubtedly a sport filled with legends and legacies. In the past 2 years we have lost many great legends whose legacies shaped in several different ways the sport of fishing. Including but not limited to Ray Scott, Aaron Martens, Lonnie Stanley, Ron Lindner, Phil Marks, and many more. What made all these Legends legendary? Did they all father the B.A.S.S. Society and Bassmaster Classic? Did they all win three BASS Angler of the Year Titles? Did they all build top level lure companies from scratch? No, they all had their own legendary status. From their own unique accomplishments. No two the same except for one fundamental fact. They all had a passion and love for the sport of fishing.
The loss of these legends should warrant a deep look into the legacies they instilled and left behind. But more importantly they should inspire you and I as individuals to look deep into this simple question. What Legacy will we leave behind? As I focus my goals at making it to the top levels in competitive fishing, I will always keep grounded to a simple truth that the passion came first. It is in this that no matter what level my career reaches I will always relate to the person just wanting to go fishing. I will always be that boy just wanting to go fishing with my family and friends.
This article was hugely inspired by two things. The Major League Fishing announcement to premiere the Bass Pro Tour Season Four this upcoming Saturday on the Discovery Channel. As well as a recent article where legendary angler Pam Martin-Wells was interviewed after her recent win at the LBAA Event on Bull Shoals. The Major League announcement reminded me of my entire childhood watching such living legends as Bill Dance, Hank Parker, and Jimmy Houston on TV Saturday and Sunday mornings. These TV programs sparked a desire deep within me for fishing. That desire was nurtured by my parents and grandparents taking me fishing. As for the article with angler Pam Martin-Wells. It featured a photo of her showing a bass to a toddler who was obviously excited to see it. Its moments like these that may not get the huge headlines but are still legendary.
It is obvious the sport of fishing has room for plenty of Legends and Legacies. It simply all starts with a story or a fish catch. If you are interested in fishing but have never been simply visit your local tackle store and ask them for assistance. I am sure they would be glad to help you get started. If you are a novice fisherman looking to work on your legacy, please take a kid fishing this July 4th weekend. They will surely be glad you did.