I had always heard that one of the greatest experiences in life was when a grandparent went fishing with a grandchild for the first time.
I can now tell you that is absolutely the truth.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go to Oklahoma to visit my family back there, including my son, Jimmy, his wife, Shannon, and my grandson, Logan.
I would also get to spend some time with Logan's mom, Nicole, and her husband, Ray. Both are wonderful people and great parents.
A few years ago, Logan and I, along with his mom, got to spend a morning at a small spring near Kingman where we angled for goldfish. But we never experienced a "real" fishing trip until this summer.
The plan for our first fishing trip was to visit a 25-acre lake that is owned by my son's friend, Rodney Black.
Black graciously gave us permission for us to try our luck in his private lake that was loaded with channel catfish, bluegills, crappie, bullhead catfish, largemouth bass, and some big snapping turtles. We would find out that there were also a few snakes, including water moccasins, around this fabulous fishery.
The first day out, our fishing team consisted of Jimmy, Ray, Logan and I.
We were up way before dawn, and when we got to the pond, which was located out in the country near Okarche, the bluegills were busily slurping off bugs from the top of the water.
Logan and I tried our luck on bass, but our topwater lures failed to produce a strike.
Then it was time to tie on a bobber and put a feisty nightcrawler underneath it.
With grandpa pitching out the bait, it didn't take long before Logan started reeling them in.
First it was a 1-pound bullhead that took the nightcrawler, and then it was hand-size bluegills that Logan caught.
The catch of the morning was when Logan managed to get in a 4-pound channel cat that darn near pulled him into the lake!
On the next cast, he hooked into another lunker catfish, but this time the catfish won the battle when it broke the line.
But more than the fishing, it was the time I got to spend with my son, grandson and friend Ray. It was fabulous experience, one I'll never forget. Probably ranks as one of the best days I've ever had. But it didn't end there.
I got to go out the next morning with Jimmy, Ray and his friend, Brent Mork. Logan was tuckered out and couldn't get out of bed to go on this trip.
Jimmy and I sat on the bank and talked as Ray and Brent floated the lake in their float tubes, catching bass and catfish on plastic worms.
I watched as Jimmy caught fish after fish. It was so special to get to spend quality time with my oldest son, who I love very much.
After a day of rest and relaxation, it was decided that Grandpa and Logan would do one more fishing trip at Mr. Black's lake.
It was cloudy and raining when we arrived, and Jimmy had to be on the job, so it was just Logan and I braving the elements.
What a glorious morning it turned out to be! While under the watchful eye of grandpa, Logan proceeded to catch bass, crappie and a bunch of bullhead and channel catfish.
That morning ended on a high note when Logan hooked what turned out to be another 4-pound channel catfish that almost pulled him off the bank and into the lake. Only because grandpa had a hold of the back his shorts did he not go swimming that morning.
We decided to give that big fish to a group of guys who were clearing the brush around the lake, who were as excited about Logan catching that big catfish as we were.
When it was all over, and the fishing poles were put away, with Logan on my lap looking at the photos that were taken during my visit, it reaffirmed my belief that doing things as a family is what builds and keeps families together.
The time there was short, but the experiences that we all shared during my trip and our fishing adventures is something that I know I'll always remember and cherish.
Spend time in the great outdoors with your kids no matter how old they are, and if you're an old codger like me, spend time with grandkids as well.
Yeah, you have to watch them closely, discourage them from throwing rocks into the pond and watch as they walk up and down the bank as they search for birds and other critters while dragging the pole through the weeds, but believe me, it is well worth it.