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My Lifetime Fishing

I learned from the best

I was 16 months old when I went on my first fishing tournament, joining my grandfather Bill Burton, at the Waters and Woods Ball Fishing Tournament he staged for more than 50 years in the last weekend of April. I didn’t get to fish until my third tournament, and then I was skunked.
    At four and a half, I caught my first rockfish, fishing with my grandpop during his April tournament. First we heard the ziinnnnnggggggg! of the reel, then the yell, Fish on! It was my turn to reel in the fish, but I was too little to do it by myself. However, Grandpop wasn’t going to let me down. We worked together. He held the rod for me, and I tried to turn the handle of the reel. It was too hard for me to turn by myself, so he also helped me reel it in. We took our time and worked together and landed a rockfish that was almost as big as me.
    For the next four years, I got to go on many fishing trips with Grandpop, from lakes and ponds to streams to the Chesapeake. Whenever we fished together and I hooked a rockfish, we would always share the rod and reel it in together.
    Now I’m 12, and I still fish. But I miss my fishing buddy.

I'm almost 58, and I still enjoy fishing.These days, my fishing partners are my granddaughter and great- nieces and great-nephew. This man first took me fishing at Gunpowder Falls before I was 2. I attended the first Annual Waters and Woods Fishing Tournament in 1959. I don't remember much, but from the pictures I've seen, it looks like I had a pretty good time. I went on many, many more of these adventures with him through the years. I was fortunate enough in 2009 to attend his last trip to the annual tournament. That was quite a trip! How I wish his younger grandchildren and great-grandchildren had the same opportunity I had. They would have had a funfilled day learning how to catch the big ones, as well as respecting the waters they were fishing in. Thanks, Dad, we did have some great times!
Elizabeth Burton Steere