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November 25, 2014

Outdoors: Fishing bug infects entire family

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Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 4:53 pm, Sun Jul 20, 2014.

LOGAN MARTIN LAKE — A mid-summer sun bears down from a bright blue sky. Small waves gently caress the seawall. They seem to be calling out for a conversation. An interaction between man and nature is a natural desire. We want to understand more about the world around us and unlock the mysteries of the lake.

For some reason water has a powerful attraction for man and beast. Plants, animals and humans need water to survive. Maybe that is the attraction, the draw, as users desire to be near or on the water. The peacefulness, the calmness and the relaxing properties of rivers and lakes call us closer.

And under the surface swims creatures that man has tried to understand for centuries. Early man developed methods to catch these creatures for food and later as sport. We know these creatures today as fish. Bass, stripe, bream, catfish and other species occupy our minds of when, where and how can we catch them.

Over the years, fishing skills have passed from generation to generation. And with each succession of the cycle, improved methods and gadgets evolve to assist in catching these formidable foes.

But how does one begin to fish? To learn the basics and develop into a complete angler. What if there is a desire to learn about fishing, where might one begin the process?

In the beginning

Allow me to introduce you to the Fuller family from Lincoln. Last year, husband and dad, Matt, was on a men’s retreat with his church on Lake Guntersville. He began to ask questions about fishing and what it was all about. Fuller saw in the men, young and old, their desire and the fun involved with fishing.

“I saw how much these guys and their sons enjoyed fishing,” said Fuller. “It was something I wanted to do with my family.”

During the retreat, Fuller began to inquire of different men the why of fishing. Later one the inquiries became more of how and what type of gear was needed to partake in this thing called fishing. The answers were many and varied from man to man. But the one thing he came away with is that fishing is fun.

Matt began to talk about fishing with his wife, Jennifer, and their two boys, Brayden, 7, and Grayson, 6. It wasn’t long before the fishing bug had bitten the entire family and they were eager to begin fishing.

“We started watching fishing videos,” Brayden said. “We would watch about different lures and fish.”

Dad added that he had some good friends that fished. They offered advice and helped get the Fuller family started in fishing.

Combining the information from the videos and asking other anglers about fishing, Matt and the boys learned enough to put their skills to the test. The family basically started with some spin-casting gear and even a cane pole.

Earlier this year, they leased a camping lot on the shores of Logan Martin. This provided easy access to the lake and plenty of fishing for all. The group would fish from a pier for anything that would bite. The boys began to learn about baits, lures and fish.

“I took a bamboo (cane) pole and tied on a line and hook, said Grayson. “That’s what I used to catch my first fish.”

Putting what the family learned to practical use, they were ready to make some progress deeper into the fishing world. A few months back, Matt purchased a used fish-n-ski boat. Now the whole family heads out on the lake and fishes together. They set their sights on whatever is biting that day.

All in for fun

After a short while the Fullers were ready to expand their horizons and attempt some different techniques for different species of fish. Catfish were the next on the hit list for the Fullers.

“We rigged up some noodles and put them out in the slough,” Jennifer said. “I saw one of the noodles go out across the slough. I told the boys there was something on that one.”

The fish was a big catfish up around seven pounds. Like a true fishermen, Brayden stretches out his arms to show just how long the catfish was. Jennifer said it was exciting to see what was on the other end of the line.

The boys can cast and retrieve their own reel and rod. The duo selects their favorite lures and gives them a try on any type of fish. These young anglers know the names of various lures and how to fish them.

“My first two bass I caught was on a finesse worm,” Brayden said. “It was a green pumpkin with blue flake.”

Brayden is quick to share anything he knows about catching fish. He is always excited when talking to anyone about fishing. Brayden said his favorite lure is a Spro Aruku Shad, a lipless crankbait.

Grayson says his favorite lure is a squishy frog his brother gave him and a Rooster tail. Both youngsters are willing to share their favorite fishing lures and tales. Whether from the boat or on the piers, these guys are all in when it comes to fishing.

Jennifer enjoys getting out on the boat and fishing as much as the guys. She has passed the boaters test for her vessel license and takes the boys out when Matt is at work. Also, Jennifer has her fishing license and will test the waters to show off her skills.

“I fished some when I was a little girl,” Jennifer said. “We would go around to catfish ponds.”

One of Jennifer’s favorite methods of fishing is trolling for stripe. She says she basically holds the rod until the fish hits and then she passes it off to one of the boys to reel in. Another duty for mom when dad is not around is to take the fish off the hook. But, the boys are learning to remove some of the hooks on their own, under mom and dad’s supervision.

Matt has moved up the ladder and purchased two bait-caster combos. He watched a couple of instructional videos. Also, Matt asked a couple of his fishing buddies for tips and he starting practicing casting out in the yard.

“They told me if I made the switch (to casting) I would see the difference,” Matt said. “I did and I can definitely see the control from a baitcaster.”

Why fishing

Fishing has a way of bringing folks together. It also can be therapeutic. Fishing can provide an escape for the hectic and busy lives we lead. Relaxing on the river bank, soaking up the sun and enjoying the outdoors. But, of course the main thing about fishing, it is fun.

“I enjoy fishing because it is stress relief,” said Matt. “It brings my family together. There are a lot of things out there to do, but fishing is good clean fun.”

Jennifer agrees with her husband. Fishing is relaxing. She likes to see everyone’s faces when they have a fish on the line. Jennifer said you don’t know what you have until you get it in.

Other family members are tasting the thrill of fishing and the fellowship it can provide. A few weeks ago, Matt took his dad fishing. It was the first time the two had ever fished together. Matt said his dad whipped him pretty good and know he is ready to go again.

Fishing provides a lifetime of enjoyment. Kids and grownups never tire of the excitement and anticipation fishing offers. Once the fishing bug bites, there is no cure. It is contagious and it spreads quickly around the family.

I asked Brayden about his plans for fishing. He answered, “Just keep fishing. One day I gonna’ catch a four- or five- pound bass.”

I am sure he will achieve and surpass that goal soon. And for certain his dad, mom and brother will be there right alongside, cheering him on as this is a fishing family.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com

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