John Jackson


Conversation : question

By 11 years ago

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Small for you may be Huge for someone else.

Two years ago, when I was really deeply exploring writing outdoor magazine articles, I had the good fortune to hook up with a publisher in Australia and convinced him that he needed to run a few stories about creek fishing in the Southeastern USA.

I explained to him the idea of fishing with ultra-ultra light equipment, 2-4 lb test line, etc, and also the concept of dragging a 5lb small mouth out of a creek that would actually appear too small to support life.

He loved it and explained to me that the Queensland area of Australia is "Fishing Crazy" turning in tonnage every year from the Non-commercial fishermen and women. He ran my articles and I got literally hundreds of emails almost immediately about how they wanted to try creek fishing in the USA.

Being hospitable and southern, I told the publisher that if he or his compatriots were ever in my part of the country and wanted to go experience this type of fishing, just to give me a call. Little did I know someone would take me up on it.

Better than a year passes and I've forgotten about my jaunt into Australian outdoor writing, when I get a phone call about 6 o'clock in the morning from a man with a thick outback accent. It turns out that he was in my area, had about an 8 hour lay over at the airport and my friend the publisher had given my number to him.

So, off I go. I take the day off from work (what better reason - to go fishing) and go pick up this elderly man from Waaaay Down Under. He was 84 years old and was conducting family business in the USA.

I drive him to my favorite hot spot in a very small creek and we sit on the tailgate of my truck eating vienna sausages and drinking a coke. He loved the experience.

We then rolled up our pants legs, put on some wading shoes that stay in my truck, and managed to catch about 30 fish in two hours. We caught Bluegill (Bream), Small Mouth Bass, Red Eye, Red Horse suckers, a small Large Mouth Bass and a small Kentucky Bass.

Please understand that my tackle box full of mini lures and at least two ultra light spinning rods live in my truck at all times, year round, for that "just in case" moment of fishing weakness.

To me, what we did is a regular escape for me. I can do this for thirty minutes and be as relaxed as if I'd spent three days on a beach. When we were done and our feet were adequately wrinkled, we went back to the truck and I gave him some lotion for his now sunburned neck. I welcomed him to the club of Official Redneck Creek Fisherman. I thought for a moment he was going to shed tears.

We talked for a while and I showed him around our small area of the country and later returned him to the airport to saddle up and catch his connecting flight. When I dropped him off, he hugged my shoulders and told me he'd had the most amazing adventure of his life with me that day. Seriously? We ate Vienna sausage and went creek fishing...that's all. No crocs, no trophy fish...

A week passes and I get a call from the publisher who shared with me the stories the old man was telling around their small town among the other fishermen. He said you would think that I'd guided him to catch the Legendary White Whale. I was very pleased that I could share the experience with him, although I still think it's quite ordinary. A lesson was being taught and learned between me and the publisher that day. What meant so little to me, meant so much to that old gentleman. It made him happy beyond measure and who can argue with that?

It even gained me an invitation to stay at his plantation (Little did I know) if I ever made my way Down Under.

So the moral of the story...don't take for granted what you have and are able to do because it could be life changing to someone else. Cheerio Mate!


Todd Quinn

Todd Quinn

Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you very much for sharing...
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