Casting for Recovery

14 11 2015

casting for recovery logo (2)

This was a great group of women to be paired with! We had many aspects of life covered with our survivors including; doctor, accountant, nurses, homemakers, legal professions, and government workers. Photo: Beth Gazda

This was a great group of women to be paired with! We had many aspects of life covered with our survivors including; doctor, accountant, nurses, homemakers, legal professions, and government workers.
Photo: Beth Gazda

Casting for Recovery is a very unique program designed to “enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.” They offer retreats for all women breast cancer survivors, of all ages, and in all stages of treatment and recovery. They try to enhance the women’s lives with inspiration and the ability to network with other women going through their own stage of breast cancer; all done in a truly inspirational setting of nature. The program is offered on a lottery system, with participants applying annually, and is free of cost to the participants!

DSC_0172 2During the 28th to the 30th of August 2015, I participated in the Western Pennsylvania retreat, held at the beautiful Home Waters/The River Village in Spruce Creek, PA. They have been holding retreats in Western PA since 2009, and more than ninety breast cancer survivors from throughout Western Pennsylvania have participated. Home Waters is a private fly fishing club with amazing fishing on Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River. The Casting for Recovery retreats have been held at Home Waters for the past five years; this particular retreat is open to breast cancer survivors who live in the Western Pennsylvania area. There are programs stretched across the United States and Canada. Check out their website for a fly fishing retreat near you, http://castingforrecovery.org/events/retreat-schedule/.

The participants getting suited up to go fishing. Photo: Beth Gazda

The participants getting suited up to go fishing.
Photo: Beth Gazda

I signed up to car pool, and because of that, I was able to have a partner in my truck for the three-hour drive. By the time we arrived at the lodge, Kay felt like an old friend! We were assigned to rooms, in one of the four buildings used for this event. I was paired with Pam, who along with Kay and her roommate Kathy, we had a great time together. The rooms were as spectacular as the views; there is nothing like waking up to the sounds and sights of water rushing down the river. As soon as we got settled into our rooms, we were outfitted with waders, boots, vests, and a plethora of “gifts” from the many sponsors of the retreat!

Some of the support circles took place around the fire, with S'Mores! Photo: Beth Gazda

Some of the support circles took place around the fire with S’Mores!
Photo: Beth Gazda

There were many segments to our weekend, and a great majority of them centered on food! Whether it was full course meals, or S’mores over the fire, no one went hungry, and we didn’t have to wait long for our next meal! The fishing seminars included learning to fly cast, identifying and matching the hatches, areas to target in the creek, and lots of laughing and fun. We were also treated to medical

Learning to cast was intimidating, but with our skilled helpers, everyone mastered the casts needed! Photo: Beth Gazda

Learning to cast was intimidating, but with our skilled helpers, everyone mastered the casts needed!
Photo: Beth Gazda

and emotional support through group circles and some one on one. No topic was taboo and off-limits, although I will not be mentioning some of the more delicate issues that the breast cancer survivors were concerned about. Relaxation techniques were also explained and practiced, many of which I will be using for years to come.

Sunday we started the day off with an optional spiritual meeting, held on the porch of the Fly Shop. Readings and songs brought home the message of recovery of more than just your body but also your mind and soul. During the service, we had to pause for a train that thundered down the tracks. Just like the cancer, we had to pause during the passing of it, and when we were able, as soon as possible, we returned to normal activity.

The fishing was superb!! I was assigned my river helper, Ashley, and the matching couldn’t have been better. We had a wonderful time, sometimes missing a fish because I was talking instead of paying attention. I started off my morning with a native brown trout, followed by a native rainbow. By the end of several hours, I felt confident in my casting, and I had landed and released five trout and lost as many. To me losing a fish on a line isn’t really losing; you still have had the thrill of the hook up, and the battle of wills between your line and the fish. Sometimes the will of the fish is just greater than your skills with the rod and reel.

All too soon, it was time to head for home. Many friends were made this weekend, and many skills for life were learned. If you or someone you love has battled breast cancer, and would like to be involved with one of the up coming Casting For Recovery Retreats, go to http://castingforrecovery.org/.  If you would like to get involved either personally or with a donation, information can be found at the same website. This was a great way to interact with others that have gone through the same battle with cancer, in a very positive setting.

All of the participants, staff, river helpers and support staff. Photo: Beth Gazda

All of the participants, staff, river helpers and support staff.
Photo: Beth Gazda

Casting for Recovery name and logo are the sole property of its rightful owner and used within this writing solely for the promotion of products herein as requested by the product’s manufacturer.

¹ http://castingforrecovery.org/about-casting-for-recovery/

This post originally published at http://ladiesincamo.com/licpr/2015/10/05/casting-for-recovery-diane-hassinger/

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You have to Believe!

11 12 2012

I have spent most of the last 3 months on the road, hunting in one location or another.  I am finishing my hunting season for 2012 with a deer/hog hunt combo at Racknine Outdoors in Alabama.  Temperatures were really against us for deer hunting, so I turned my sights to HOGS!  On December 8th Nancy Jo, Jeanne and I were stalking a group of hogs that were really tearing up the woods.  We were backtracking to a nearby lake, when a shiny balloon caught my eye.  Even as I hurried over to it, I knew what I was going to find!

I am going to jump back to 1998.  Dale and I were celebrating our 19th anniversary deep sea fishing out of Daytona Beach, Florida.  We had had just a horrendous year before, and much needed a break.  Our son Mathew had died in a boating accident on March 7, 1997.  Matt was with his best friend and our employee Mike, Mike also perished in the accident.  Clint, a lifelong friend of Matt’s died 2 days later in a car accident after finding out about Mathew.  Dale’s best friend Earl died 3 months to the day later, having told us it was not natural to bury a grandson (Matt).  Two months later, out of the blue, Dales mother, died in September of complication from diabetes.  As if that was not enough, 2 months later, Dale’s mentor Walter died on his 45th wedding anniversary in the middle of a fishing creek.  That was a year I hope to never repeat, ever!

While Dale and I had charted a boat and were out fishing, 30-40 miles off shore, the Captain announced that he saw debris.  Since the fishing had been slow up to that point, we traveled to the debris, since dorado tend to cluster around anything floating.  Upon pulling up, what we thought was garbage, was in fact a Mylar balloon that wished “Happy Anniversary”.  I got goose bumps then and now as I type this.  I am sure to this day, that this was Matt’s way of telling us he is still watching over us, and still a close part of our family.  That was by far the best anniversary present I could have gotten!!  The gifts kept coming after that!  We boated the most fish our Captain had ever caught in one day!  I guess he didn’t realize he had a very special fisherman on board that day!

Now jump back to the present; Did I mention that December 8th is my grandson Ryan’s birthday?  You got it!  That Mylar balloon we found while hunting hogs, that had not been there earlier, said “Happy Birthday”!  I knew immediately who it was meant for.  We quickly took a picture with my cell phone and sent it on it’s way to the birthday boy.

I realize most people would just chalk this up to coincidence, and I may have at one point also.  But I have become a firm believer that when loved ones die, they are still watching over you and participating in your everyday lives in some small way or another.  We have had so many “coincidences” over the years that I just now say “Thanks Matt”, smile or cry (or both) and send the message on to it’s recipient.

Be open to see small miracles that you may otherwise overlook.  After all we need something to believe in, and I choose to believe that love is never ending!

happy birthday Ryan





The Important Stuff-part 2

2 11 2012

After hunting for 2 weeks by myself and some with Dale, I needed to reconnect with the Important Stuff in my Life! So we packed up the kids, grand kids, and friends and heading to our favorite salmon fishing spot. We spent a wonderful weekend fighting fish, dodging rain and cuddling to ward off the cold. Everyone spent time bonding by the fire and pitching in to help land fish.

Get out and enjoy nature. Make wonderful memories with your family and friends, don’t take life for granted. Make the most of it while you can. Tell everyone that matters to you how much they do. Live your life with no regrets.

“Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love” – Bob Marley





The Important Stuff

22 10 2012
This post originally appeared in Ladies in Camo Field Journal  http://ladiesincamo.com/fieldjournal.html
21 Oct

Some of the important stuff in my life!

Some of the important stuff in my life!

I have spent the last 2 weeks on the road hunting in Georgia and Alabama.  During that time I have made many great lasting memories and made some new friends.  This morning I was stalking hogs with my husband Dale along with Terry and Dillon from Racknine Outdoors.  I was really enjoying our time, the weather was beautiful and we were finding lots of fresh hog sign.

Should have been a perfect day, but it wasn’t.  Maybe I got homesick, I don’t know.  But we were walking along one minute with me thinking how I really love hog hunting, and the next minute my son popped into my head.  I started thinking how Matt would have really loved this, but he will never get the chance to experience it.  You see he died in a boating accident 16 years ago at the age of 16.  His death has changed our family forever.

That got me thinking (and crying) about how we need to focus on the important stuff.  Family, God, friends and health. The rest of it really doesn’t matter.  Get your kids and grandkids out in the woods, take them hunting, fishing, hiking or bird watching if that is what your are into.  Spend quality time with them, bonding over the simple things in life. Teach them about the outdoors so they in turn can teach their children.  Make sure they know your love, don’t let a day go by without telling them.  You really don’t know how long you will have them for.  Help them create wonderful memories that will comfort them in the future.  Life is a double edged knife, any of us could be gone tomorrow.

So enough said.  Next weekend Dale and I are taking our family and going camping and fishing in New York.  We will laugh, play, fish and have memories to sustain us.  I am going to help untangle lines and unhook fish for my grandchildren, take lots of pictures and ingrain every minute into my heart and brain.

“Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love” – Bob Marley





Unforgettable!!

5 09 2012

This post originally appeared in the Ladies In Camo Field Journal.  http://ladiesincamo.com/fieldjournal.html

Unforgettable!  That is definitely how you would describe our family vacation.  Dale and I were joined by our daughter Shannon and her 2 children; Sarah 9 and Ryan 7, and good friends Mike and Vicki.  Both of our grandchildren have been involved with hunting since they could walk.  Each of them has taken deer and turkey on the Pennsylvania Mentored Hunt Program, Sarah took her last turkey with a crossbow.  This trip would be different; they would be hunting in Alabama and Florida for wild hogs and alligators!  We are blessed that we have 3 generations that enjoy all the outdoors has to offer.  Even more so, we have 3 generations of Lady hunters, 3 generations of Ladies in Camo!

Our 3 generations of Ladies in Camo; Shannon, Sarah and Diane

We started our trip at Racknine Outdoors in Clio, Alabama.  Sarah was spot and stalking with me, while Ryan sat in a blind with Shannon.  Sarah was a real trooper.  While we were trying to get on the trail of the hogs, we worked on skills; picking up trails, identifying tracks, identifying different sounds and plants. Several times we were able to get close enough to hogs that we could hear and smell them, but never got close enough for a shot.  I had her lead us out of one area at dark, following the ribbon trail, and we found the boat no problem.  Later Terry told us that he has had to find several men in that area that couldn’t find their way out.  She has a great internal compass that is right on the money!  The one morning we did sit in a box blind, and had a buck come close enough that I could have tripped it, and a doe grazed within a few feet of us.  She took many pictures that day, just thrilled to be in the woods.

Moving onto Florida created a unique set of adventures for us.  Our first night, as we anticipated alligator hunting, we had a storm front move in and dump a huge amount of rain on us.  So instead of hunting, we became well acquainted with the local restaurants.  The next day, the sun was shining and the gators spent the day sunning themselves.  Capt. Billy Henderson, of Deep South Outfitters, went over crossbow operation and safety with everyone, and we took turns shooting at a water bottle cap.  The kids popped it up in the air while Dale and I pinned it to the ground.  The crossbow bolt is attached to a float, so everyone needs to be aware of where the rope is located in relationship to your feet.  The harpoon and also the bang stick were explained, and Shannon and the kids practiced the motions needed to use them.  We went through a few scenarios of how the gators might present themselves, and where to place the corresponding shots.  Being as all of our hunting is done at night, Billy explained how the eyes would reflect the spot light, and how they should come into the call.  Once everyone felt confident, we were off to the river.

We hunted the Kissimmee River that night and Ryan was up first.  The entire evening we had heat lightning lighting up the sky.  Occasional we could hear the rumble of thunder resonating across the flat ground, still to far off to be a threat.  Several gators were spotted, and halfheartedly responded to Billy’s call.  They would hang up at about 20 feet and go down, never to be seen again.  Finally a healthy 7 footer came in and presented a good shot.  Ryan wasted no time, and spined the alligator and ended his hunt.  A perfect shot!  He helped with the taping of the jaws and feet, then clicked his tag into the tail.

Ryan with his new buddy! His 7′ alligator.

Next up was Shannon, who was also on her first gator hunt.  Again several responded to the call, but would drop out of sight before a shot could be taken.  Eventually a good size gator came in, and after a lengthy battle, she managed to land herself a good solid ten footer!  By this time, we were getting short on time to get Ryan’s into a cooler or lose the meat, so we called it a night and high tailed it for the processors.

Shannon with her 10′ gator

The next evening we were once again hunting the Kissimmee River, but this time they were letting water out of the dams to prepare for Hurricane Isaac, which was anticipated to drop massive amounts of rain on this area.  Where we had seen well over a hundred of gators the night before, this night they were few and far between.  Sarah was on the front of the boat; Dale was with her to help with the lines.  They had a gator come close to the boat, then quickly duck into the brush near the bank.  To everyone’s surprise Sarah was able to place a fantastic shot through the branches and soon she was bang sticking her own 9 footer!

Sarah’s 9′ alligator

The pressure was now really on me.  We went for over an hour without having any gator come anywhere close to us.  Near the end of the night, with a storm front bearing down on us, I had a good gator start to come in.  At 30 feet away he started to hang-up and took a deep breath, indicating to me that he was ready to dive.  I took a chance and fired, hitting just behind the skull right before he sank into the depths.  He immediately went into death rolls and tangled the line up tight around him.  I managed to harpoon him after 2 failed attempts, being as he was still rolling.  After a quick shot out of the bang stick, I was taping his mouth and hind feet.  We took off toward the dock, and made it to the truck just second before the sky opened up and started dumping a tremendous amount of rain on us.

Diane’s 9′ gator

The next day we tried hunting wild hogs with dogs, something none of us had ever done before.  While we took our rifles with us, we ended up using the spear that the guide provided.  We pursued them riding in a swamp buggy with the dogs racing in front of us.  The dogs really worked together tracking the wild hogs, then a 3rd dog was released to help grab them by the ears.  Once the dogs had control of the hog, we would move in to spear the animal.  This allowed us the opportunity to harvest 5 good meat hogs, and have some really great memories!  While I love eating wild hog, the ability to help get a few of these destructive animals out of the swamps really makes it worthwhile.  Filling the freezer with fresh sausage is an added bonus!

Sarah, Vicki, Diane, Ryan, Mike and Shannon after a successful day of wild hog hunting!

That evening the tails of Hurricane Isaac hit us, so instead of hunting, we spent the evening in the hotel lobby in an impromptu Hurricane Party.  The power kept going out, so it was still an early evening.  The wind howled all night, and the rain flooded all low areas.  We were under tornado warning most of the night, and police brought several families to the hotel because of flooding to their homes.  By morning the hotel, that had been almost empty the day before, was filled with people seeking refuge from the storm.  The next day was no better, winds were high and the rain continued.  Bowling for the kids, and gambling for the adults helped fill the time.  Surprisingly Dale won enough at slots to spring for dinner for everyone.

The next day was still bad, but we only had 2 nights’ left and still had 4 tags to fill.  We were hunting Lake Okeechobee that night, and there was a heavy chop on the water complicating things even more.  We started our hunt under a double rainbow, which left us with lots of hope that a big gator would be our pot of gold!  After a few sightings of gator eyes, one came in within a few feet of the boat, and Mike let his bolt fly.  The bolt hit solidly, and the gator took off with the float trailing behind.  We caught up with it in a bed of hydrilla.  With Billy holding the line, Mike poised with the harpoon, Dale started quickly pulling the mounds of hydrilla that was wrapped around the line.  As soon as he opened up a clear area, Mike stuck the gator with the harpoon, and we were able to get control of the situation.  Hit with the bang stick, wrap the mouth and legs and the 9’ gator was tagged.  We tried for another, but conditions were deteriorating quickly, again.

Mike with his 9′ alligator

Our final day to hunt, the sun was shining and the wind died down some.  It seemed we would finally have a good day to go out.  WRONG!  Shortly before we were to leave, the skies opened up and the winds once more started to blow.  We still had to go.  We headed south to a dock on Lake Okeechobee and kept our finger crossed that maybe, just maybe we could get out on the water.  The water was still really high, and cotton mouth snakes were in the parking lots.  We killed one, and saw several more that other people had dispatched before we got there.  I hate the idea of being around poisonous snakes in the dark!  I would much rather face an alligator than a cotton mouth!

Vicki did not have long to wait at all, the boat was barely launched when she got on an 8 footer.  She managed to get her shot made before the rains started, but we still had to harpoon the gator, shoot it with the bang stick and get it in the boat during a pouring rain.  By the time this gator was in the boat, everyone was soaking wet and covered with mosquito bites.  We retreated to the truck, and hoped for a break in the weather.

Vicki and her 8′ gator

After what seemed like an eternity, all of the food and drink in the truck was consumed, and the weather finally gave us a break.  We searched for a long time to even find an alligator; the weather was pushing them deeper into the water.  We caught a glimpse of good size eyes a very long way off, but we had to try.  Slowly we crept up using only the trolling motor.  I think this gator was confused as to why anyone in their right mind would be out on a night like tonight.  Confused or not, he presented a shot that Dale could not refuse, and our 7th alligator was tagged for the week.  Whew!  We had to work hard for all of the gators we took this week.  We still have one tag left that hopefully we can make it down after September 12th to use.  Our tags were for the 2nd week of the season, but after September 12th any unfilled tags may be used again.

Dale’s 9′ alligator

We are passing on our love of the outdoors to our kids and grandchildren, teaching them skills that are not taught in our schools.  Good or bad, this trip was what memories are made of.  We had a lot of wonderful experiences that we got to share with our family and friends, we got to laugh and cheer each other on.  Three generations of our family got to enjoy the hunting, fishing and fun that this trip had to offer!  We harvested 5 wild hogs and 7 alligators, and filled our freezers for the upcoming year.  How can you go wrong with that!

www.racknineoutdoors.com

http://www.dsooutdoors.com





Let’s go Fishing 1992

1 05 2012

This is part of a series of writings I did in 1992.  Surprising, this is as true today, as it was 20 years ago, and Dale is still my fishing partner; 33 years this spring.

“Let’s go fishing this weekend,” Dale suggests, and I readily agree.  We have been fishing partners for our entire married life.  After some fishing trips, remaining married is a feat.  Sometimes our trips have been known to turn into a comedy of errors.  However, I am always ready to go fishing regardless of the time we must leave, the cold weather, or even a clash with Mother Nature.

Four o’clock a.m. comes early the morning of our trip.  An entire pot of strong black coffee is not enough to open my eyes.  I stumble incoherently out to the old pick-up truck; after scraping ice off of the windows, we embark on a day of fun.

“Quit breathing, you are fogging up the windshield” Dale demands, “Just wait until the heater warms up.”

Just as I am about to black out from the lack of oxygen, the first wisps of warmth are emitted from the heater.  Coincidentally, this also marks our arrival at the lake.

The morning sky is ominous looking, indicating that the weather will be unstable.  We unload our essential equipment, and trudge down the slippery, mud covered slope to the dark and menacing lake.  Cold, slimy mud oozes over the top of my boots, instantly putting a spring in my step.  The nip in the air is chillingly refreshing, not cold enough to numb your extremities.  However, I wish my feet were numb, so I could not feel the mud squishing between my toes.  The wind has calmed to a mere gale.  A perfect day for fishing, usually the weather is unmistakably miserable when we manage to take off a day.  I attempt to bait up with a worm, who is no happier to be awake at this hour then I am.  After struggling to pierce the squirming bait with a hook, I finally feel the barbs penetrate.  I lean back, and cast smoothly into a deep pool of water about 25 feet from the shore.  I snuggle down into my heavy wool jacket, waiting for the moment when a fish decides to breakfast on my bait.  Before long I am rewarded with a persistent pull on my line.  I quickly reel in the fish, which is only a small bass.  The fish is returned to the water, and the process is repeated.

Mother Nature now decides to throw her worst at us, and the wind increases to tempest storm intensity, the wind chill-factor is dropping rapidly.  The next cast of my line results in it being slapped back in my face, as if thrown by an invisible hand.  I am grateful for my cold weather clothing, but even it is not enough to ward off the frigid air.  It has now become a challenge just to get the line into the water, and not freeze while doing so.  This becomes a battle of the wills, and Mother Nature wins.  Dale and I pack up our equipment, and trudge up the slippery hill to the eventual warmth of the truck.

This has all been a minor deterrent, and we will continue to go fishing whenever the chance arises.  Awaking at 4:00 am, scrapping ice off of our windows, battling Mother Nature in a slightly unfair battler of the wills is all part of the allure of the sport.  Next time maybe the odds will be in my favor, and I will win.

My fishing partner





There’s a Fish 1992-2012

1 05 2012

This was wrote 11-13-1992, twenty years ago!  I was reminiscing and looking through some old writings of mine and found this.

Fishing equipment, in my possession, has evolved tremendously since my childhood.  The elaborate equipment used today differs greatly from the Spartan gear of my past, even the bait has been refashioned.

The fishing equipment I use today has become very expensive; however the quantities of gear have increased as well.  Merely to fish from a shore area, I outfit myself with two or three different types of rods, a net, portable fish finder, hip waders, and a fully stocked tackle box.  My box is overflowing with hundreds of scientifically designed lures, costing thousands of hard earned dollars.  Each lure is unique in either design, color, weight, or length.  Each is designed to be used in very specific situations.  I have a black, two inch long Jitterbug used only for bass at night.  Walleye Wonders, in nine colors and four weights, have possession of a large portion of my box, and I only use them when drifting for walleye.  I have tiny lures resembling crayfish, used solely for fishing for smallmouth bass in the river.  Gone are the days of simplicity.

As a child I owned just one basic, broken cane pole, with no reel.  A cigar box was transformed to hold my treasure trove of tackle; five or six hooks, and a piece of line scrounged from my Grandfather.  These were truly treasures.  I showed off my collection as if it were worth a million dollars.  My fish finder was my little sister, who would race along the lake banks screaming “Look, there’s a fish!”  I never had to replace her batteries, and I did not have to worry about forgetting my fish finder; she tagged along whether I wanted her to or not.  Wading boots were whatever shoes I was wearing when I waded into the water.  These could have been play shoes, or occasionally school shoes.  Getting wet was part of the fun, so no attempts were made to avoid dampness.  I did not have the complex decisions to make about what lure to use, a worm worked in every circumstance.

Worms have also evolved, because the fish apparently have become educated, in the quarter century I have been fishing.  There were times when I could fish all day with a grubby earthworm, dug from the manure pile, and catch some nice “keepers”.  Keep in mind, as a child, any fish large enough to take the hook was declared a “keeper”.  Now I fish scientifically, and my “keepers” must be trophies.  The thrill of the catch is not enough anymore, now I need an impressive size to thrill me.  Live bait apparently comes from the bait shop.  Ask for worms at these shops, and they think you are uncouth; the proper terms are night crawlers and blood worms.  I still slip up, and in a moment of forgetfulness call them worms.

All the advancements in my fishing equipment were made to enhance my ability to catch fish.  Fish finders, wading boots and lures contrast greatly to the days of a worm on a hook, and my sister tagging along.  The challenge in fishing has elevated to the point of only desiring trophies.  I yearn for the days of contentment, when fishing was simply, basically, for fun.

Added 4-30-2012

Now let’s jump ahead those twenty years, have I found contentment in fishing for fun?  My love of fishing has never died.  I am ready to go fishing anytime, anyplace.  For some things we have simplified, for others we have gone over the top.

The only time I use a fish finder anymore is upon the Happy Boy, a 50’ Bertram.  This boat is also equipped with every type of electronics; sonar, radar, depth finders, auto-navigation.  You name it, this boat has it.  Do you know how we search for marlin?  With a simple pair of binoculars.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this boat.  But this house on the water is over the top with gadgets.

My rods have evolved to the point of St. Croix and Sage rods.  Yes they cost much more than my cane pole, but I do enjoy the added sensitivity these rods produce.  My reels are usually Penns or Fin-Nors.  I use them simply because I like them.  I have a room, the size of most bedrooms; this is my tackle box now.  Drawers are organized for each type of fishing we do.  I do not even want to think about how much money is spent on all of the lures I have.  I do still show off my collection as if it were worth a million dollars and today that number is a lot closer to its value.

We fly to other countries to fish for world class fish.  We vacation all over the United States to fish some of the greatest waters on Earth.  The Happy Boy is docked in the Florida Keys.  These are my fishing waters of today.  My contentment now comes from being able to expose my grandchildren to these great fisheries.

We only use worms (yes worms-not night crawlers or blood worms) when we fish with our grandchildren.  I still love catching bluegills, bass and catfish on a simple hook and worm setup.  I am thrilled by the look on our granddaughter’s face when she hooks a catfish, and exclaims “Nana, Nana come quick!”, and I do.  A simple rod and reel, a pair of pliers, a hook, worm and bobber does the trick.  These are our trophies today.

We have gone full circle.  We have the expensive toys to play with and enjoy, but the greatest times are still the simpler ones.  Got to go, Ryan has a fish on!