This One’s For Mom

Craig James | April 11, 2020

It was the summer of 1993…

Man… just saying that reminds me I’m starting to get old. Anyway back to the story. It’s April, the sun is shining, and I’m in a jon boat hoping and praying to somehow catch my first bass. I’m armed with a Zebco 33 and a Creme plastic worm. I’m casting, winding, pausing, hopping, doing whatever I can to make the magic happen. Mom quietly paddles us into a cove, and I make a cast. Instantly… my rod doubles over, and a 2-lb. bass comes out of the air tail walking on the black water’s surface. After a fight that seemed to last forever, I trembled excitedly as I grabbed the fish’s lip.

In that moment, a lifetime addiction began, all because my mom gave up her Saturday afternoon plans to take me fishing.

Daddy didn’t care much for fishing. Now don’t get me wrong, he was heavily involved in everything else myself and my brothers were involved in. Fishing just never was his thing.

Looking back all these years later, I think Momma must have known just how much I loved it because she always found the time to take me no matter how busy her schedule.

Some of my fondest memories are out in the front yard catching grasshoppers and placing them in a 20-oz. drink bottle we punched holes in and turned to a makeshift cricket cage. After catching enough to fish with, we’d walk through the woods to the Satilla River and catch whatever would pull our cork down. After a few hours we’d bring our catch home, and Mom would show me how to clean what I had caught.

The author’s mom, Stephanie James, with a flounder she caught fishing with her son last summer.

I can still remember all the times she took me to a nearby convenience store to buy the latest issue of GON, and all the times she waited patiently for a 10-year-old boy to slowly… ok… very slowly… decide what fishing tackle to buy with his birthday money.

Honestly, I don’t know that I’d love fishing the way I do today if it weren’t for Momma. It’s funny to me how at the time I never even realized how much she gave up to help me do what I loved. Now nearly 30 years later, I can remember every single sacrifice, and I will always be grateful for it.

I do my best to take my kids fishing as often as they want to go, to fuel that fire the way Momma did for me. I can only hope their memories of me will be like those I have of fishing with her.

I love you Momma, and thank you for teaching me how to fish.


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