There is only today

While I was spending some time with a good buddy the other night, he revealed that his 83-year-old father is not doing well these days.

My buddy went so far as to ponder the misery he’ll experience in the wake of his father’s eventual death. See, they’re not just father and son; they’re the best of friends. They do everything together and talk every day.

I felt bad for my friend — and then, selfishly, my thoughts turned to what I’ll do when my own parental figures are no longer around.

I have a similar relationship with my dad Mike Brasher and my uncle Harold Brasher. They split time raising me when I was young, along with my grandfather Clifford Brasher, because they both worked 70 hours a week and neither had time to do it alone.

It was tough enough when my grandfather passed away back in 2002, but I still had both my dad and my uncle — and for 22 years, the seats in my boat have been reserved for them for every fishing trip I’ve made.

It’s a running joke here at B.A.S.S. that I’m the most panfish-obsessed editor in the history of bass-fishing magazines. Elite pros stop me at ICAST to talk crappie fishing, and during the weigh-in for last year’s Elite event at Lay Lake, Minnesota pro fishing star Seth Feider referred to me as the “redear slayer,” in reference to all the pictures I post on social media holding big redear sunfish.

They were all caught with my dad and my uncle, of course. That’s the kind of fishing they like best, and that suits me just fine, as long as I get to spend more time with them.

For days after my talk with my buddy, I wallowed in the notion that I might not enjoy that kind of fishing as much — or even want to do it anymore — after my dad and my uncle are gone.

I don’t have any sons, and my daughters are both nonverbal autistic. Who would I do it with? Who can fill those seats that have been marked “reserved” for all these years?

Then I decided to just stop.

Nothing can ruin today like worrying about tomorrow. So, I just stopped.

On the off chance that I’m not gonna live forever, I decided I’m gonna try to be happy right now.


I think that’s good advice for everyone who takes to the water — whether you’re a younger fellow like me noticing more gray hairs and a slower stroll among your cherished elders or an older person watching your little one grow bigger and develop more varied interests every day.

If it makes you sad that the journey will someday come to an end, that only means you lived the journey well.

So, get busy living the journey well.

I miss fishing with everyone who’s passed from my life.

I mentioned my grandfather earlier, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t give to sit one more day on the bank carp fishing with him. There’s also my great aunt Francis Brasher. She was an absolute fishing fool, and I’d give anything if she was around to see this recent movement toward more female anglers on the water.

I miss fishing with my grandfather’s buddies Hubert Isbell and Raymond Galbreath, who seemed to be at their best when the fish weren’t biting. Seriously, they were two of the most naturally funny people I’ve ever met.

So, go now. Call up that important person in your life and plan it out.

Get on the water while you still can and don’t spend one second worrying about those days that are surely coming when you won’t be able to do it anymore.

The times I spent with those people I mentioned above — the folks who are no longer with us — are good memories.

Memories I’ll love and treasure forever.

The trouble with memories is they can’t love you back.

But that person in the boat with you sure can.

Soak it in today. Then figure out tomorrow when the clock strikes midnight.