Editor’s Log: Family Values - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Family Values

Last weekend I chartered a boat, for the first time in my life. That might come as a surprise to some of you, but it’s the truth. I typically fish on friend’s boats or ‘hop on’ with someone else. But a few weeks back my uncle Jon called me and told me he was taking a week off in late-May and wanted to spend some time together. Jon was the spark in my childhood that lit the fuse on fishing, he also taught me about the woods and wildlife, he taught me how to shoot, and he introduced me to fireworks and playing guitar. Sounds like a cool uncle, right?

As soon as he told me this, I knew what I wanted to do. I called my friend and striped bass savant, Capt. Robbie Taylor and he was able to put a date on the calendar for us that fit into our schedules. As my wheels continued to turn, I thought to invite his sister (my aunt) Betsy who is just a year older than I am and also loves to fish. She and her husband, Dan own a fishing line company in northeastern Connecticut – Betsy and Dan were also in. As a last minute addition, I called my best friend since 8th grade, Alex, to see if he would like to come on the trip, he didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’. All of us have known each other for many years and I just knew it would work.

The fishing that day was a bit of a grind, we saw lots of fish, many of them quite large, on the screen, but they just weren’t in the feeding mode that day, even with live bunker, the bites were few and far between. We ground out a decent catch of stripers from 30 inches to 20 pounds and Dan hooked a true giant, but it wrapped him up and broke off.

For a while, I found myself wholly focused on the fishing and just really wanting everyone to have the best possible time. But there was a moment – around the halfway point – when I stood back and observed what was going on. These four people, who have been staples in my life, were standing together laughing, smiling and telling stories from our home town. I turned my attention inward and realized that I was light and relaxed. And in that pinnacle moment, I came to a powerful realization.

This trip was a reason to get these people together, the fishing was secondary, despite my pressing at the start. I’ve always known that fishing had a higher power within it, something that bonds those of us who love it together. That’s the reason I feel an overwhelming sense of relief when find myself at a large gathering and see a guy with a fishing t-shirt on…I know we can rescue each other. But in this case, I discovered another way that higher power can affect our lives.

A trip like this forces people to leave the comfortable routines of every day and serves to prove that a birthday text and a hug a Christmas isn’t really staying in touch. There is a deeper value in being together, there’s a richness to the experience of making someone laugh or drumming up an old memory in real time and in the flesh. When the trip was over and we gathered in the parking lot, destined for our respective corners of New England, we lingered to laugh a little longer, to share handshakes and hugs and to promise that we would do this again. I hope we will.

If members of your family or circle of friends are scattered hours apart and you’ve fallen into that routine of periodic text ‘check-ins’ complete with a “carefully chosen” emoji, take it from me, you will get a lot out of rounding up your core four (or more) and chartering a boat for a day of fishing. You’ll have fun, you’ll catch some fish, you’ll have lots of laughs, but more importantly, you’ll be reminded of how irreplaceable simply ‘being together’ is. And I’ll bet that feeling will stand out above any fish you might catch that day.

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