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Father-Son Fishing

Happy (almost) Father’s Day to all the Damn Good Dads out there.

In honor of yall and your well deserved holiday, we sat down with Patrick, who recently took a trip with his son, his father-in-law, and his brother-in-law with Captain Arturo down in South Padre Island.

We think what he had to say about getting his six year old son out on the water is pretty awesome—and a bond that’s hard to build with your kid doing anything else.

Captain: What was the motive for getting your son out there to fish?

Patrick: I’m not trying to make him the Michael Jordan of fishing. The reason I like to go do it is because, man, you learn a whole lot about the culture and community in whatever place you’re fishing. And even beyond the more general knowledge, you also learn nuanced things like how to tie certain knots.

If I’m out fishing an area for three or four days, I’m for sure getting a guide. I want to know that area and take down some of that experience. It's good for my son, too, because it's just really dense exposure.

We’d done some fishing over the past year—getting his cast working, getting him familiar with concepts like retrieving—but we hadn’t gotten on any fish. So in the absence of that and having the time to do so, that’s another big reason I like to set up a guide. We’re shooting for something high probability here and really carving out time to get my son on fish. Ultimately, it’s to get an experience where this heritage can start building.

This year, I knew I was for sure doing that. The fishing trip ended up being a great first experience for my son. He caught his first fish, and was busy catching them the entire duration of the trip, which made it a great experience for me. I’m also gonna try to get him in a blind. Not shooting yet, but just being part of the duck hunt in the fall. It’s paramount.

Last year, he'd gotten the tease, but he really wanted to get a fish. Around where we’re at in Austin, we hadn’t been able to make it happen, and I wanted to make sure to get it done early… well I guess this isn’t as early as I would’ve liked… He’s six.

Captain: That’s pretty early! What do you think his reaction was tugging in that massive red?

Patrick: Oh man, he was so pumped.

He had caught a cat right before that, and it didn't even get taken off the line. He was excited there, but it wasn't real until the fish came onto the boat, and he got to see it and touch it.

He had a huge grin, was really excited, talked about it the whole time, and begged to go fishing more. The full process of bringing it in, seeing it, taking it home, preparing it, and putting it on the table for everyone to share gave him a pride and connection that made it fun for him.

Now he’s asking to go fishing again all the time—it’s awesome. And, it’s better to have him asking for that instead of his iPad. That’s the request that’s most common from kids in general these days.

That's also how you get people to care about taking care of the environment—being part of it as well.

Reelin em in

Captain: What would you say fishing together has done for y'all's relationship?

Patrick: Funny you say that… it’s actually sparked a little bit of an argument.

We do this trip every year on the Texas Coast with my in-laws for seven days. It’s my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, their kids, along with my father-in-law and mother-in-law.

We fished on the second day we were there. After fishing, he was glued to me non-stop, walking behind me wherever I went. My wife was like “why are you taking him off everywhere? He’s not getting to play with his cousins.”

I wasn’t doing anything though. He’s asking to come cook, come hang out, help set up beach equipment, etc. Ever since we went fishing, he’s just been on my back.

Captain: What would you say about getting those three generations out there? Pretty special to get everyone fishing together while you can.

Patrick: We went there with one goal, and it was to have my son catch a fish. We were secondary to that. My father-in-law, brother-in-law, and I were all coaching him. He caught some lessons from each of us. Pretty cool—three generations of men right there coaching him up.

For years he's seen me go off with my buddies to fish, hunt, rock climb, or just get outdoors. I still want that to be in my future, or course, but I’ve known this transition has been coming for a couple of years where it’s now going to be a lot more focused on him.

I’ll still be casting or shooting or whatever it may be, but it’s going to be spending a large portion of my time really trying to hand that off to him. There aren’t a lot of bonding experiences that are similar to that.

You’re getting to go out with the guys from your family to talk differently, act differently, and to just soak it all in. You're not gonna have three generations together for very long. It’s a special overlap to be able to share that connection, experience, and hand down that institutional knowledge.

Father son fishing

Captain: Do you think as he grows older, gets a little bit more mature, and his love for fishing grows, that you guys will start leveling up your fishing trips? Start with a red fish conventional trip, then maybe introduce fly fishing, then yall might go offshore for snapper, and one day it’s offshore for tuna and marlin.

Patrick: The past two years I’ve been very thoughtful thinking about, reading about, and writing down the best time to take him.

If you take them too early, they're gonna be too hot and too distracted. They can’t participate, and it’s a negative experience. If you take him too late, then you’ve kind of missed that opportunity to really get them excited.

So to me, there's this parabolic relationship there. I was trying to time it perfectly.

I want to try to get him out there with his buddies, too. Because then it's not only a family thing, but also a way for you and your friends to go hang out. They’re not gonna get this connection or these experiences anywhere else.

Video games, computers, and books can teach you a lot, but this is where the rubber meets the road. It’s all about getting them hooked… not to be ironic.

Also, selfishly, I want to get my son and daughter in it. Let’s go try for some Marlin. Let's go fly fish for GTs. Let's go take a four day trip where we’re trekking for salmon. I want to try out these experiences with them and have a tradition that we carry on—picking up new things together and pushing the envelope.

I like trying new things. I want my son to be interested in doing the same and remind my daughter, “hey, I want to be out there, too. I don’t want this just to be him.”

And then after that, we’ve spent so much time together out on the water, we’ve gotta buy a boat.

Captain: That's awesome. The friends angle is pretty cool, too, because you can take his friends out and your son can show them the ropes. Especially at that age, making things social makes it cool. His friends will get the itch and tell their parents about it.

Patrick: So he and I have gone camping twice—sorta urbanish camping, not super far away or intense. But after those two trips we did over the past six months, I thought to myself, “I really want this to be social with his buddies,” because camping is something that can get super boring. It’s not like he can go hike a lot. He can hike some, but what else are we gonna do? I teach him knot tying? He’s not gonna have any interest in that.

In order to make sure it's a good experience that he wants to keep doing, how do I focus on making this something that he’d experience with his friends?

So next time, we’re gonna go out to Inks Lake with his buddies and bring some fishing gear so we’re engaging out there. At this age, I’m trying to make it social to where it's something that he wants to go do with his friends and that they start it early.

Some of our best friends here in our neighborhood have a son and daughter the same age as ours. Him and I hunt and fish together, and we’re trying to get our kids out there this year to get them in a blind as well.

Again, it’s really about getting it started early to establish a tradition for him with his family as well as his friends. It’s setting that mindset of, “hey, we may not see each other for most of the year when you’re busy or I’m busy, but we’ll get together to do this.”

I still have friendships like that—often the only time we see each other is when we’re planning a trip to do something outdoors. My buddy is a scientist in Denmark, but we’re always counting on when we’re gonna get together for fishing or for duck hunting that year. It’s never an “if”, it’s a “where’s it gonna be and when’s it gonna be?”

Startin 'em Young

Sounds like Patrick, his son, and the rest of us all see the value in getting out there with friends and family—a tradition that’s hard to beat, and something we should all pass along to keep the magic of days spent on the water, in the blind, or on the slopes alive.

If you’re looking to plan the next trip with your little man, feel free to give our team a call at 833-CAPTAIN, or check out our trips for yourself at captainexperiences.com.

Cheers to the dads out there. Happy Father’s Day, and thanks for startin em young.