I asked some of my favorite anglers where their first fishing spots were.
I couldn't have found a better group of individuals to gather insight from. When it comes to sharing knowledge on fishing locations and fishing techniques these folks all spoke from experience. Additionally, they were willing to share some personal reflections of their youth and how fishing gave them some of their first thrills in the outdoor world.
Come along and try to remember those first casts that you took and how they affected your love for fishing and the great outdoors. Reading about those who came to love fishing the same way as we did won't only bring a smile to your face, but remind you of how important it is to teach this love to the youth.
Some are professional fishermen from both Canada and the United States, but all are bound in their hearts to a lifetime of angling, and it all started somewhere in their youth. Join us as we open up our tackle boxes and share those first fishing opportunities that made us fishermen and women for life!
1. WOS Contributing Writer Reid Vander Veen
While Reid lives with his family in South Dakota, he still has a great fishing memories from Iowa.
"The Iowa Great Lakes in Okoboji are big-muskie territory," he said. "I'd fish with a worm and a bobber off the dock where my grandparents spent their summers."
2. WOS Contributing Writer Nathan Unger
The Bulldawg Outdoors writer and blogger has a fond memory of his early days in the Old Line State.
"I fished a small pond outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and caught my first fish off a broken-back topwater jerk bait."
3. WOS Contributing Writer Dustin Prievo
A firefighter that values loyalty, honor and respect, Dustin remembers a time when the bullhead was king.
"As someone from the Adirondacks, one of my favorite pastimes is bullhead fishing," he said. "You bait with a nightcrawler, single hook and sinker. You then cast out into the ponds, hang a bell on the tip of the rod and wait. We'd all eat s'mores and have a bonfire, and when the bell goes, you hear 'Fish on!'
4. WOS Senior Writer David Smith
His Stumpjack Outdoors Facebook page embraces the "Hunting, Fishing, Foraging, Cooking, Critters and Adventure" philosophy that keeps him grounded and reminds him of all the experiences that molded his passion for the outdoors, including his early days of fishing.
"I remember fishing at my grandparents' lake and the creek that ran on the side of their property," he said. "I'd go fishing in the weeds for bluegills and from a rowboat with my grandma or my Dad. I'd dig angleworms and put them in an empty soup can. We'd clean those fish and my grandma would fry them up for us and it was delicious! Those are such good memories."
5. WOS Senior Writer Justin Hoffman
The freelance writer and current field editor for Ontario Out of Doors magazine is an avid bass angler but remembers his roots well.
"As for my first fishing spot, it was nature park close to home, called Camp Samac," he said. "We would go as a family when I was little, and our Dad taught us how to fish. We'd use worms and a red-and-white bobber."
6. Professional writer, podcaster and host of Anchored with April Vokey, April Vokey
In an interview back in May, 2018 Vokey talked about her first memories of trolling with her father in Newfoundland when she was three years old.
7. WOS Associate Editor Ellen Fishbein
Fishbein loves hiking, open water and fresh seafood, and it all started with her first fishing experience, which was a fly fishing trip to the Cascades in Washington.
"I'm so spoiled," she said. "I still wake up remembering beautiful dreams of that place!"
8. WOS Senior Writer Craig Raleigh
I have so many fishing memories that I don't know where to begin, but begin I will in the Sandhills of Nebraska near the Niobrara River. My grandparents had a ranch there and with a ranch there is certainly a need for water. The farm ponds they had gave my grandfather many great opportunities to teach his kids and grandkids how to fish. He would take me to one of them, hand me a rod and proceed to crawl on his hands and knees through the nearby weeds and catch every grasshopper he could, inserting them into an oval-shaped Prince Albert tobacco tin.
Every single time he hooked one on for me and helped me throw it out, it caused the bobber to immediately disappear and put another bluegill into the bucket!
I could never forget any of it for as long as I'll live; it's the reason I still bend my neck at every pond I see along the way.
Whether you fancy a fly rod or a conventional rod, or if you have a preference for smallmouth bass, largemouth bass or rainbow trout, you'll always think back to that first time you fished. That first fishing trip we took as kids is what set us down the path on a longer journey of outdoor adventure and appreciation. Fishing tackle will come and go, but that first great place will never wane in our minds.
Where was the first fishing spot that you tried?
Cover photo via EFlyers