Fishing is something that man has been doing since the beginning of time. Besides furnishing food for the table, there are other benefits to families.
I am a supporter of families doing outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, as it builds bonds and makes memories that will not soon be forgotten.
I donate fishing trips to various conservation organizations in Arizona and to groups such as the Arizona Hunter Education program here in Mohave County. For Hunter Education, they actually get two trips, one for their honor graduate and one for their good student, whose name is drawn out of a hat.
Again, my way of supporting outdoor recreation brings families together.
This summer, I have had the pleasure of going out on a number of trips where some young people, both male and female, have made lasting memories with their families.
Take 9-year-old Jacob Parrott of Kingman. He went out on a trip with his father, Adam, and Grandfather Dan and he caught a lot of fish.
I wondered if he would be able to stay awake all night, as our usual fishing time is from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., but the young man never dozed off once, and the smile on his face when he brought in a hard-fighting striper is something that his dad and grandfather, and myself, will never forget!
The Schupp family came up for a trip that the patriarch of the family, Terry, had.
With him was his adult son, David, and grandson Justin. In this case, I think David had the most fun of anyone on the boat, catching fish right and left, while watching his dad and nephew catch fish too.
On a Father's Day trip, the Tinnin family from Bagdad brought along Bobby Tinnin's grandson, 12-year-old Blake Eli. Not only did grandpa, who I think was 77 years old, catch a lot of fish, but so did young Blake, who not only engaged me in some friendly, spirited conversation about the number of fish he was catching, but about my fishing abilities as well!
Then there was the trip with the Decker family. Chuck and Julie fish every summer with me, but this year they brought along their feisty 11-year-old granddaughter Samantha, or Sam, as we called her.
Sam was on her FIRST fishing trip and of course the grandparents wanted her to get "hooked" on fishing like them.
I wasn't sure how Sam would do, so I made this challenge to her.
Catch 10 fish and I'll give you one of our Striper Hunters T-shirts.
That got her all fired up and soon it was apparent she would make her goal. So I raised the bar. She needed 20 fish to get the T-shirt.
She initially balked, saying I had changed the deal, but then she settled in and started fishing like a veteran angler.
With time running out, she earned the shirt with 21 in the boat. "I'd really like to get 25 on my first trip," she said.
So I reeled in my poles and we worked as a team for the last 20 minutes of the trip.
She held the pole while I watched the line and end of the rod. When I detected a bite, I'd yell, "Jerk!" and she did. She finished with 25 fish.
Her parting words to me, which made my day, were, "I had a lot of fun, and I'll be back next year!"
And it is not just dads, grandpas and aunts who enjoy the bonding that comes on a good fishing trip. Last week, I had a couple of trips that were unbelievable.
Laura Borden and I were fishing with Kingman residents Ray and Yoli Poulin.
We got on a bite that was unreal and I think Yoli caught more fish than she had ever caught! In the end, we had over 200 stripers and catfish. We filled up five ice chests with fish!
Then we had a father and son team from Gilbert who came up to fish with what I called the Striper Hunters "Dream Team." That is Jay Chan, who is the best bait angler I know, Laura Borden and myself.
Rob and Alec Hedrick were on vacation and had gone to Lake Powell in Utah for a combination camping and fishing trip.
It was hot tent camping and the fish weren't biting, so they headed to Kingman, then up to Meadview.
The night we had was hard to describe.
It started off slow, but then around midnight it turned on and when we stopped fishing - we filled up every ice chest in the boat - we ended up with 232 fish. And our best 40 tipped the scales at 73 pounds, 14 ounces.
The father and son shared a trip like never before and they were amazed at all the fish we were catching (I was too!).
Memories were made on all these trips that I doubt will ever be forgotten by those who were there.
It is very gratifying for me personally to know that I am part of these special memories and I look forward to being in many more!