July has been a busy but a good month. I’ve had a bit of writers block and have been struggling to come up with a topic that I could blog on. After an entire month of fishing with friends old and new, I know my topic. This month really has not been about the fish as much as it’s been about the people I have met along the way. Each and every weekend has had its own story line and somehow the stories have just kept growing since I wrote “The Crazy Journey” a few months ago. I could be writing fishing tips but that just doesn’t seem like the direction that this journey is leading me at the moment. There are several stories from the month but 3 that really stood out the most.
Let’s start with Billy the 68 year old military veteran my daughter and I met during a morning with Indiana Heroes on the Water chapter. Billy at 68 had never been in a kayak and actually needed the aid of a walking cane just to get around a little better. As you can imagine getting in a kayak was a little daunting for Billy. With the help of the staff we rigged a kayak up with some outriggers and got him situated for a day on the lake.
Once we got him out onto the water the staff sent me along to accompany Billy. Having the Big Rig it was a no brainer to be the support boat in that situation. As we fished along Billy told me about being from Georgia and his love for bass fishing. Having my tackle in my kayak we stopped; cut off the crappie lure provided and laced up a little more bass driven. Billy and I floated around for a good while talking while he fished and it was a blast to see the smile grow with each cast. The Heroes on the Water project is something that is offering a great benefit to folks like Billy and so many more that take part. It will be something that I see my daughter and I being active with for some time.
Next up you have Sand Sheff the author of the children’s book “Eclipse Miracle”. While working with our Jackson Kayak dealer Kentucky Lake Outdoors for a demo day Sand had stopped by to demo a kayak on Kentucky Lake. He traded us a copy of his book for a little extended time. The 4 of us sat under the easy-up and read the book cover to cover. After Sand had returned he proceeded to tell us his story about how he was following the eclipse path to promote his book and see the sites. It was cool to hear his story about being a hay farmer / teacher that went to an author traveling with the book the he not only wrote but illustrated. I bought a copy of Sands book as a gift to my aunt to bring back home. She called after reading and as a teacher was so impressed with the multiple ways that she would be able to use the book with kids in our local area.
Lastly I got to meet up with a good friend of mine Tommy Thornton who shares a lot of the same passions for the outdoors. While good friends he is a crappie angler and I a bass angler so our paths do not get to cross as often as we would like. Tommy had enough of seeing all the kayaking post on my Instagram feed and hit me for day of kayak fishing. Like anyone that 1st step into the kayak was a little nerve racking. It took about 15 minutes for him to get at ease with the kayak before he looked over and said “This is so cool”. Later on we were fishing an area and he pulled up on a downed tree top and began jigging. He couldn’t believe that he was able to work though the limbs and work fish that were tighter to the cover, fish that he couldn’t have targeted from a regular boat. By the trips end Tommy was completely at ease with the Cruise 12 and even sent me a text later on that night saying he is looking to buy 3 kayaks here soon. It was a great way to connect and share our passion for the outdoors again in a way that he hadn’t tried before. I even managed to tuck all my bass gear away and catch a few pan fish myself.
Being out on the roads teaching me that it’s not about the fish as much as it is about the experience and the people I am coming in contact with. It’s taking that few moments to answer a couple questions at a gas station and doing things like running our little kayak tournament trail here in southern Indiana. Am I catching as many fish? I don’t really know I’ve kinda stopped worrying about those things. It’s been fun showing people what we do, it’s been fun being part of the team here at Jackson Kayak. I don’t have a clue what’s next, I’m going to load up my gear, head to the next lake and let the stories happen. The sun rise is never the same twice and neither is the day.