Tale End: Generations Collide - The Fisherman

Tale End: Generations Collide


These last six weeks have been all over the map for me in my personal life. Of course, the ramp up of saltwater fishing and the return of my favorite fish, the striped bass, have been great things and always fill me with feelings of hope and determination. But I also had to bid farewell to one of the best friends I have ever had in my life.

Stewart Marquis was more than 30 years my senior, but somehow maintained the youthful exuberance of a teenager through his entire 77 years of life. Of all the lessons I learned from him, the importance of nurturing your inner child, along with giving of yourself were the two that I will carry with me always.

I think most people who know me would tell you that I have always been someone that refused to meet the ‘public standard’ for my age. I just never saw the point of giving up on myself so I could start sipping brandy in my leather wingback and spewing quotes from Hemingway or something. I’ve always thought of life as a strand woven from experiences and I want to look back and see a thick and colorful rope when I’m finally forced to rest.

Lately, I’ve been exploring a new avenue of angling: kayak fishing. And I have to say, I am absolutely smitten with the whole process. Recently my friend Mario and I found some really nice stripers in a place where no one else ever seems to fish. Mario is nearly 20 years younger than I am, but I know that we will be friends for a very long time. After a few days of this fishing, we heard from our mutual friend Ben who was coming home from college and we wanted to get him in on some of the action. But with two kayaks and three guys, this was going to be tough! And this next segment is where I can’t deny that, in spite of my best efforts, I have matured, at least a tiny little bit.

Mario and Ben hatched a plan to tow Ben behind a kayak on a stand up paddle board (SUP). We’d plan to fish from shore instead of the kayaks, but we’d be able to access spots we couldn’t on foot. I had to be the fatherly voice and suggest that Ben walk as far as he could so that the towing would be as short as possible.

We met Ben on a point and I pedaled off on my yak to find the perfect place to land our fishing flotilla. In the meantime, Mario and Ben checked the connection between the yak and the SUP via a nylon ratchet strap. I came back with the landing plan and we began packing things up and getting a PFD on Ben. In my head, that tiny segment of my brain that actually has matured (just a little) was whispering, “this might not be smart” but it was quickly drowned out by nervous laughter as Ben positioned himself on the SUP and realized just how tippy they are if you’re not perfectly centered. After trying a few positions he laid on his belly and off we went, Mario providing the power and me working security, like the second tugboat escorting a barge.

I think we laughed for the entirety of the third-of-a-mile ferry ride, which went perfectly and at some point during that short, hilarious trip, I found myself looking up through the darkness and tipping my hat to my friend Stew. Because I know he would have approved of the mission, I know he would have loved the story and I have to believe that his spirit was present, even if it was just in the example of my participation in this cockeyed plan and covertly passing on the lesson I learned from him to Mario and Ben.

Never miss the chance for an adventure and keep that flame of youth alive inside you, Stew taught me that extinguishing that flame is a choice, and I believe the best way I can honor my great friend is to pass that fact on to you. I hope it will inspire you to protect that feeling of the purest form of joy that the human experience offers, at all costs.


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