Here's a favorite moment from last summer. Ben's mom booked a last minute trip for he and his dad on his father's birthday. Their family had been visiting museums and historical sites across New England for two weeks and "the guys needed some fishing time". She told me that Ben often shut down in new situations and not to worry if he didn't engage while out on the boat. When he and his dad arrived at the Phippsburg ramp at 5:00 am, he didn't want to even say "hi" or make any eye contact. I put Ben in the "hot seat", in front of the console on the Maverick, for the ride down the Kennebec in the waning darkness.
We found stripers pushing water and slurping bait in a foot of water at the first flat we checked just as the rising sun broke through the fog. Once Ben figured out what he was seeing, the fish had his full attention. He was incredibly focused during our casting instruction and followed every step I shared with him. In no time, he had the spook dancing perfectly across the still surface. By the time he'd landed his fifth fish, we were carrying on about why fishing captivates us, how much or how little his sister would enjoy it, and how much meaning being outdoors holds in each of our lives. His dad did catch some birthday-fish but spent most of the morning celebrating his son's experience.
As Ben ran the boat back up river at the end of our trip, he was telling his dad in a serious and matter of fact tone that he was going to explore fishing for a living when he got older.
How fortunate am I?
Capt. Peter Fallon
Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC