Last week while getting ready for a fishing trip, I decided a little family time was in order. Initially, I’d planned a solo trip to test some of my old proving grounds in NE Florida to search for some hungry redfish and see if I could scoop up some flounder. My wife mentioned taking the boys out fishing, and without hesitation I jumped at the suggestion. It had been a while since we’d all had a day out on the water enjoying some family time.
We decided that we’d take our time and enjoy that beautiful Sunday morning. We ate a big breakfast, then I went about getting the gear ready, rods rigged, and yaks loaded. My oldest, Garrett, hadn’t had the opportunity to take his Pelican Sonic 80 out in quite some time, and I was ready to see how proud he was with being able to paddle his own kayak. I grabbed the Pelican yak, loaded up my wife’s Wilderness Systems Ride 115X yak, and grabbed my Old Town Predator MX to load into the truck. Once the rods were rigged, yaks loaded, we preceded to get ready to head out the door. Now my sons take fishing serious (much like their father)! They immediately inform us that we’re going fishing so they have to wear their Columbia fishing shirt and they need their buffs (face shields). Of course, I don’t mind any of this, and it’s no secret how much I enjoy it with the beaming smile on my face. As you can imagine, this family time was already a success.
Once everyone is geared up and ready, we head out the door and swing by the local bait & tackle shop to grab some bait. When we take the boys out fishing, I make it a point to make things as simple and easy as possible. I want my sons to enjoy the experience, see some wildlife, and above all else… catch some fish. It’s all about being out on the water, enjoying the outdoors, and enjoying the family time we spend together. We hit the launch area, and we notice the winds have picked up a little bit more than expected. Garrett, proud as he could be, informs us that “I’ve got this”. We put the boys’ MTI life jackets on, and we start off paddling to an area that I haven’t fished in quite some time, months in fact. It’s simply referred to as “the lake”, and some locals simply call it “Tony’s creek”.
We arrive at our fishing spot, and immediately get set up to start fishing for redfish. Garrett struck first with a small redfish to get the day started. My wife and youngest, Gavin, weren’t far behind as they land a small redfish of their own. Garrett then yells, “daddy I’ve got a fish!”. I look up and his rod is doubled over and the drag is screaming! He fights in and lands a beautiful 21.5″ redfish to go onto the Stinky Pants Fishing stringer. My little man has the biggest and proudest smile on his face. Gavin, not one to be outdone, soon after gets a big hit on his rod, and he & Kaycee both fight in one of the fattest 22.5″ redfish I’ve ever seen in my life. They both giving each other high-fives and smiling from ear to ear. Family time is already a great success! Kaycee later on lands another slot red, this one measuring in at 19″ long. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves at that point, when Gavin gets another hit and brings in a nice 17″ black drum to add to the mess of fish I now have to clean & fillet.
We fished there for about 2.5 hours and landed 20 redfish, 1 black drum, and a couple of stingrays. The quote of the day came from Garrett after he landed his last redfish of the day. He looked at me and said with the most serious of looks, “daddy, I’m not fishing now… I only wanted to catch 10 redfish today”. Family time? Yes I think we definitely accomplished it. We decided it was nearing lunchtime, so we started paddling back to the launch. On our way back, we noticed a porpoise splashing and eating on some mullet along a shoreline. Both boys thought that was the coolest thing to witness.
We finished our day with lunch at a burger joint, still beaming about the fun we’d all just had on the water, enjoying our family time together. There’s no greater joy than sharing your passions with your family, and enjoying those passions as a family. Next time you’re gearing up to go fishing, try a little family time for yourself.