In my 30 years on this Earth, I’ve experienced more than the average guy. I have and continue to deal with combat experiences, losing an arm, coming to grips with knowing I’ll never be able to live out my dream of an Army career and having to endure a complete job transformation, overcoming alcoholism, anger issues, and depression. Don’t even get my started on my OCD OCD OCD. I’ll get into all that mess in another post. At 30 years of age, I have conquered all my demons through Jesus Christ, my wife, my Emma Jo, and my love for the outdoors. My love for them far outweighs the struggles. Do I still want alcohol every day? You betcha. Do I still want half a can of Copenhagen in my mouth at all times? Absolutely. Do I get angry every 12.7 minutes? Fo sho. Things have definitely changed since my youth. If you are the husband and father your wife and children deserve, you will develop an insane amount of selflessness. I’ve learned to control my temper. I’ve quit feeling sorry for myself. One thing remains the same: my stubbornness. Even though it’s what made my parents pull their hair out, and now makes my wife’s eyes twitch a little, it’s what keeps me going.
So when my wife asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday, after I was awakened to my daughter sitting on my head screaming “happy burday da da”, I knew exactly what it was I wanted. I wanted to be around all the things that have helped heal me along the way: God, family, and fishing. We started out going to church. It was a really great service and a good time of giving thanks to God for my marriage, family, friends, sparing my life, and making me a better person. The sermon was a great one about loving your neighbor in the way God intended. It prepared me for the drive afterwards. I have been told I have a sprinkle of road rage.
Lisa had invited our families and some close friends to supper later that evening. That meant in order for me to go fishing, we had to move with a purpose. This was the last time I would fish for brookies for a while since they would be in their spawning time shortly. At this time they need to be left alone. Lisa and Emma Jo were gonna tag along. I also wanted to take this opportunity to try out some new Revolvr pants Evan Shapiro of KUHL sent me to test out. They looked like they might be nice wet wading pants.
The fall leaves made the water glow. It was gonna be amazing. I went with a BWO and headed down to the water. We checked the scene out before walking up to the first run.
Although it was fall, there were still a lot of brush and thorns. I like the lightweight pants I normally wear for their breathability in the heat. But they usually get stuck or ripped when walking through that kinda stuff. These pants are like a blend of lightweight breathability and canvas durability. I was able to carry Emma Jo through all the brush and not have 20 little holes in my thighs. Lisa on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. You can tell from this pic just how low the water really was.
Within 5 minutes of fishing, my pregnant wife was about to have a break down and my two year old had already had three. That’s how quickly this trip went from my time to catch brookies to spending time fishing with my daughter. All she wanted was to play in the water and I couldn’t blame her; that’s all I ever want to do. She was diggin’ the cold spring water.
I was having a blast watching her smack her hands on the water and losing her breath each time it hit her face. You can learn so much from a kid about enjoying life. We took some time to learn about some bugs.
Since I had a rod, I thought why not let her get used to using it. I set her up on a rock to give her some height.
Another thing I really liked about the pants were that they didn’t do the stick to your legs thing. That’s so annoying. As you can see above, they were thick enough to keep their shape with the water pressure around them.
Emma Jo was actually amazing me. Although the rod dipped in the water half the time, she was mimicking what she sees very well; she was actually bringing the rod back and forth! I was wide eyed. She had used her little fly rod a few times, but something in her clicked this time. I was in shock. Then she did something that blew me away. As she was bringing the rod back and forth, she actually hooked a fallfish. Although I am never impressed to catch a junk fish, I was ecstatic. I could not believe that she actually, intentionally or not, hooked a fish on her own! She loved the beast of a catch almost to death.
She kept fishing some more and seemed to get the hang of it more and more. She was casting and reeling like a pro.
It was not at all the fishing trip I had expected it to be. I had to tote my little girl around in the water while I held a rod in my teeth. It was perfect. I got to experience something I’m so passionate about with my little girl. We ended up catching a bunch of fallfish. The brookies were nowhere to be found with all the splashing we were doing, and that was okay with me. I will be able to fish for brookies for the rest of my life. But these times with our children are numbered and they grow way too quick. At this point in my life, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than this.