Leaving a Legacy
One part of my job that gives me a great deal of pleasure is instilling a love of the outdoors, and specifically fishing, in folks who are experiencing it for the first time.
My dad started taking me fishing and hunting as soon as I was old enough to walk. His dad did the same thing with him. And his grandfather before him. And on and on. We were taught to respect the outdoors – if you killed it, you’d better eat it*.
*This is how 14 year old Travis came to acquire a distaste for grilled opossum after a back yard adventure.
I was fortunate to have parents and grandparents who encouraged exploration and science. They weren’t just snook (or snuke, as Poppy called them) – they were common snook – did I know there were other species? And off we’d be to some Audubon Field Guide or Reader’s Digest Reference of North American Fishes to read up on the snook family.
By age 9 or 10, I knew the scientific names of snook and redfish and bobwhite quail and white-tailed deer. Every trip was met with wonder by my mentors, which led to every trip being met with wonder by me. Every sunrise, sunset, mangrove, fish strike, dolphin sighting, every sound – to this day, I love to drink it all in.
And that’s the thing that I love most about guiding. Seeing a kid look in awe at all the bait in the livewell, and introducing them to mangrove snapper and parrotfish and seahorses and whatever else. It’s someone who’s previous best catch was an 8″ bream in the pond behind her uncle’s house suddenly holding on for dear life as an 80 lb. tarpon somersaults across the surface of the water.
I love it when a little boy squeals as the drag whirrrs into action. When an accomplished angler makes the perfect cast to land his fly right under a tailing redfish’s nose.
I love it when my daughter is more excited over the strike on a topwater plug than actually catching the fish.
Or when my son catches a trout with his grandfather, sitting in the same spot where I caught a trout with my grandfather 30 years earlier.
More than anything, I love the idea that these people, clients and friends and family, that they’ll take those memories with them, and that I, maybe in a small way, contributed to the greater good, that they’ll carry that love of the outdoors to their friends and family.
That’s the legacy I want to leave.