Passing The Torch: A Passion Is A Gift - The Fisherman

Passing The Torch: A Passion Is A Gift

author
The author, Capt. Coral Aiello with her dad, Capt. Joe Aiello.

A Love for fishing connects father and daughter.

Some people develop a passion for fishing as they grow older and explore new interests, others have the passion instilled in them at a very young age. Parents can play an important role in shaping who we are, whether they mean to or not.

All I Ever Knew

In my case, I grew up in a fishing family and took to fishing at the age of 5. My father had been in the commercial fishing industry since the 1970s and then started a fishing charter service in 1995, I was born a year later. As cliché as it sounds, fishing is all I ever knew. Skip ahead a decade or so and fishing became my biggest passion and ultimately my livelihood.

Of course my dad took me fishing when I was little and, yes, I was on the boat before I could walk… but he never pushed it on me. Growing up around the water and the sport, it was easy to take a liking to fishing and, looking back, I wouldn’t want it any other way. My childhood is rich with memories of meeting my dad at the dock to check out his catch. I was always fascinated with the organs, asking to see the heart and begging him to cut open their bellies to see what the fish had been eating, and of course he always did what I asked. As I grew older, my passion continued to grow and fishing soon became my life.

boat
Proof that the author basically grew up on the boat and her dad was there every step of the way.

Taking The First Step

Around the age of 14 I asked my dad if I could work for him as first mate on his charter boat. He was hesitant at first. I mean, what parent wouldn’t be? A 14-year-old girl wanted to take over a job historically held by grown men?! I started slowly, working only a couple trips per week, but as the years went on, I worked my way up and eventually I was out-working any and all of my male counterparts. Now my dad calls me his best mate, although – I suppose – he could be a little biased. Before I knew it, I was working the deck seven days a week, two trips a day and my dad was no longer just my father, but he was also my captain. He taught me everything he knew, from knots, to boat maintenance and everything in between. We developed an amazing and unique father/daughter relationship which is, by far, my favorite part of the whole experience.

This season will be my 14th year running Sara Star Charters with my dad. Over those years, we have made some unforgettable memories together on the water. When I first started working for him there was a lot to learn and a steep learning curve. He was patient…(for the most part!) He was there every step of the way showing me the countless techniques he’d learned over the years, and eventually I taught him a few techniques that I’ve learned. We became the best team and he’s my favorite fishing partner.

57-pounder
The ultimate Father’s Day present, a 57-pounder landed in a team effort between father and daughter.

An Incredible Father’s Day

Two years ago, we logged an incredible Father’s Day moment that will be hard to top! We landed, what was at the time, the biggest bass we’d caught with a charter. Our crew for the day consisted of five newcomers that were unfamiliar with fishing. It was a typical mid-June day, a little cloudy and a bit windy as well. Around 2 p.m. we had a fish grab the bait and as soon as the fish hit we knew it was big. Our clients were honestly too freaked out to reel it in! They didn’t feel confident enough to handle the fish we had on and insisted my dad and I reel it in. Since it happened to be Father’s Day we decided shared the rod. Once we got the fish at boatside we all freaked out, mesmerized by how big it actually was. The beast barely fit in the net and took the two of us to lift it over the rail.

Anyone that fishes knows that sometimes big stripers can surprise you. I’ve had 40-pound stripers fight much harder than the one we landed that day. Although we knew the fish was big, we had no idea the fish would be 57 pounds! It was a surprise for all onboard that day and it took both of us to hold it up for a picture. My dad said it was the best Father’s Day gift ever. We were both on cloud 9 for the rest of the trip, there’s no way to put into words how special it was that we were able to share the experience together. These are the kinds of memories that last a lifetime, and they will become the stories that I will pass down to my children.

cards
A few Father’s Day cards saved by Capt. Joe over the years.

Passing The Torch

IT’S NOT JUST FATHERS
On this Father’s Day, it’s a good time to reflect on how you were introduced to fishing and who lit that flame for you. Much like Coral, I was handed a passion that has become a lifestyle and a career. My dad was not a fisherman, but he still took a great interest in my passion for it. He used to say all the time, “You’re so lucky to have a passion for fishing, like you do.” Reading between the lines there, I think he felt like he didn’t really have one later in his life. My introduction to fishing came at the hands of my uncle Jon. Starting when I was around 5 years old, he would often sneak into my house at 5 a.m. and I’d wake up to his face, inches from mine, and he’d whisper excitedly, “Dave, you wanna go fishing!?” I’m sure you can guess that I never said no.

I tacked this little snippet onto the end of Coral’s awesome Father’s Day tribute because I wanted to highlight the fact that anyone can be the person who inspires a budding angler. One of my best fishing partners during my childhood was my brother’s friend’s dad, he used to take me out all the time. And I have another friend whose grandmother was the one who used to take him fishing and inspired his obsession with the sport. My point is, if you feel passionate about it, then it’s worth sharing with the next generation, so take that opportunity and run with it.

-D. Anderson

Over the years, my dad has been prepping me to take over the business. I received my 100-ton captain’s license in November of 2022 and I have slowly been taking the reins ever since. Fishing has helped me in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. It’s made me more confident and helped me break out of my shell. Fishing has helped me achieve a level of happiness that I don’t think I could live without, I mean I could, (but it would really suck!). I can’t thank my dad enough for taking me under his wing and sharing his fishing passion with me, it has seriously made me who I am today.

Not only do we work together but we’ve become comrades. Fishing together outside of work, hauling our lobster pots or just hanging out on the boat; fishing has been the common thread that has bonded us together, building this unique father/daughter relationship that we have today. Some people go their whole lives without finding their true passion and I’m so thankful that my dad introduced me to fishing, so I was able to find mine. If you’re a parent that has a passion for fishing, take the time to introduce them to fishing, you may be igniting a fire that becomes the passion that fuels their entire life.

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