by Rick Clunn, as published in Volume 2, Issue 1 of NITRO Performance Fishing Boats Magazine
My family and I were visiting relatives on our summer vaction in California. We were camped out at Pine Lake and everyone was climbing into my Dad's boat early that morning. Hesitantly, my Dad looked at me and said that I would have to wait until later in the day because the boat was full of relatives.
It was the first time ever that my Dad did not take me fishing with him and it broke my heart. I was trying to fight back the tears, and my Dad was obviously feeling my pain. So he reached and grabbed his favorite fishing rod and reel with his favorite red and white Lucky 13 lure and handed them to me.
He said, "Take my rod and fish around the bank, and you and I will go out later".
I was thrilled. Dad would never even let me touch his favorite fishing pole in the past. It was the one thing that was off limits. As they left in the boat, I eagerly took off down the shoreline, making one cast after another.
Like most 6 year olds, I was easily distracted by squirrels, crawfish, and many other surprises of nature. I had made a cast but then laid the rod down to chase a grasshopper.
I heard a splash in the direction of where the Lucky 13 was floating motionless. I looked up, and everything went into slow motion - a bass jumping out of the water. In its open mouth and flared red gills was the red and white Lucky 13.
It scared me and excited me all at the same time. I grabbed the rod and instead of reeling the fish in, I just took off running up the bank and drug the fish out of the water. When it was about 2 feet up on the bank it came loose and started flopping back toward the lake!
I dropped the rod, sprinted back toward the fish, and like a linebacker trying to recover a fumble, I launched myself into the air, landing on the fish right at the waters edge. I couln't wait until my Dad and relatives returned to show off my catch - and I was even prouder when I found out they had not caught a single fish.
When I reflect back on that special angling day, it changed my fishing forever. Catching my first bass on an artificial lure sentenced me to a lifetime of chasing little green fish.
Rick Clunn is a member of the NITRO pro fishing team and a 4 Time Bassmaster Classic Champion.