Some 40-plus years ago, I fished with a guy who unknowingly changed my life. He started taking me to the water’s edge when I was around four years old and continued to do so until I got into my late teens and started chasing other creatures besides fish. He didn’t interfere with my life’s progress, and we eventually hooked up again and carried on with new and even better fishing adventures. I’m talking about my dad, who still loves fishing as much as I do.

Today, I have two boys of my own, Hunter and Cole, who are truly starting to love the great sport of fishing. And through them, I’ve learned that fishing is as much a group activity as it is an individual one. Sure, I’m as guilty as anyone for disappearing into my own world when I’m on the water—to me, fishing is the ultimate solo activity. But by sharing such tranquil moments with my sons, I’m not only enjoying time together with them on the water, I’m also instilling in them a love of nature that will be carried on for years to come.

Some of my favourite childhood fishing memories involve sneaking down to the edge of a stream with 
my dad to hunt for elusive brook trout. Now just as precious are the more recent memories of fishing with my sons, such as watching Cole land a six-pound smallmouth—which he still brags about to anyone who’s listening—and helping Hunter haul his first walleye and lake trout through the ice. Then there’s the group of kids I took carp fishing so they could take a crack at fighting the biggest fish of their lives. All these moments, sharing time on the water with kids, have positively impacted my own fishing life.

Honestly I could close this great book of fishing memories right now and be completely satisfied. But the reality is, the book is just getting started.