I’m grateful that a lot of fishing fans got to know my mom and dad this past year. They were the hard-to-miss folks in the front row of nearly every Carhartt Bassmaster College Series weigh-in that Jordan and I were a part of. They were always dressed in Auburn attire. Mom took tons of pictures and cheered loudly, while Dad watched more calmly with a proud and friendly grin.
Starting with wood chips, Dad has given Jordan and me all of the help he possibly could with everything from school tuition to boat gas money, in order to chase our dreams and be successful college anglers.
Yes, wood chips … or wood shavings, if you prefer … that he hauled for money as a very young man from the lumber mills to the chicken farmers around Jones Chapel, Ala. See, unlike Jordan and me, Dad had very little as a kid and had to work to pay his way through college and veterinary school.
It was a fear of failure and hauling those wood shavings that helped him achieve a grade point average higher than I’ll ever have; he did that while paying his own tuition in order to carve out a long-standing successful career in veterinary medicine.
Still, he remains humble and hard working. In fact, he’s a Carhartt-wearing guy that gets up around 5 a.m. each day, drinks coffee, reads the paper, cleans the horse barn, feeds our quarter horse named “Big” and then meets a day of helping everything from house cats to pregnant cows. Oh, and then he comes home and mows his own yard until dark.
If you want to say he’s spoiled us, that’s fine; but he and mom never hesitated to take away privileges from Jordan or me if necessary at the same time they were doing all they could to provide for us.
I owe it to myself to do well in the classroom, in my tournaments and in life; but I feel like I owe it to my dad to do well, too. When my head hits the pillow at night, I want to know in my heart I worked as hard as I could that day to make Mom and Dad proud.
Success in fishing is like anything else in life; if you want to be the best, you’d better be prepared to work harder than those around you. And you might have guessed – I learned that from my dad, too.
Thank goodness, Dad is finally growing patient enough to slow down once in a while, and go fishing himself. If I were giving him or anybody reading this a fast tip for this time of year – assuming the water isn’t frozen in your area – I’d say tie a 3 1/2-inch YUM Money Minnow rigged to a 3/8-ounce head on 15-pound fishing line, and cast it on everything from rocky points, to boat docks, and even over your favorite stretch of aquatic vegetation.
Until next time, stay warm, good luck and enjoy the Spirit of Christmas.