article by Dan Chason
I remember the first time my grandson Kade went fishing with me. The bream and chinquapin were biting good and I was hoping this 5-year old wouldn’t quit before we got a good mess. I could not have been more wrong. Kade Gibson was and is a fishing machine. I saw very early that he not only had the desire but he had the drive to stay with them. I could fill up an encyclopedia with the questions he asks when we fish. He is like a sponge and there is no quit in him. He absolutely loves to fish. Not only is he a good fisherman, the boy is a predator when it comes to hunting. He gets it naturally from his dad, Nick and like most youngsters, you will find him right there with his father from the start of season to the end. Whether it is chasing deer, ducks or small game this young man is a die hard. In his early years, he was all about trying to kill a “buck deer.” I put him in a stand with my son-in-law on a very cold afternoon hunt. I opted for another stand but told them there was a nice 8-pointer coming to the stand they were hunting every evening at dark.
Sure enough, right at dark I heard a shot and the familiar bullet strike. When I got to the stand, Kade was bouncing off the walls. Laying there about 50 yards away was Kade’s first “buck deer.” A nice mature 8-pointer. When I asked Kade how he took that deer, the answer was classic Kade. The 8 year old (at the time) said, “Papaw, it was really cold. So I got down by the heater to warm up. And I thought, this would be the time to ask for help. So I closed my eyes and asked Jesus to send me a buck. I looked up and nothing. So it was getting almost dark and I got back down by the heater but this time I folded my hands and closed my eyes and said, ‘Please Jesus…. send me a buck.’ Papaw, I looked up and there he was.” I told Kade that in the future he was hunting with me. He could pray and I would hunt.
As is the case with most youngsters, they are pulled in a lot of directions. Kade is a gifted baseball and football player. For quite a while it was school ball, team ball, travel ball, tournaments and such that took much of his off time and led to a lot of missed fishing trips. That is until the bass bug bit him. Kade started asking me about bait casting reels after having his line broke and reel malfunctions with a spin cast rig. So I gathered up some gear and we practiced. He and his brother John Thomas placed targets in the yard and practiced pitching, flipping and casting. Kade stuck with it. Soon he was at my house going through tackle and with it came the thousands of questions of what to throw. The advantage we have is we live on the same private lake which is exceptional for bass fishing. Kade started with a frog and was soon sending me photos of his catch. If you are looking for Kade, just go down the banks of our lake and you will find him. He expanded his horizons and soon learned how to fish a whacky styled worm, a Texas rigged worm and his favorite top water lures. And then his luck changed. His cousin Eli and family moved next door to Kade.
Eli Corley is a remarkable young man. You rarely see him locked into a video game or goofing off. Whether with one of his grandfathers or home, this young man is not afraid to work. I rarely go by his house that he isn’t on the business end of a weed eater or helping his mom straighten up outside. Our first trip together, Eli was fired up. I told him we were going after crappie and told him to leave the bass fishing gear at home. Our discussions showed me a young man who was also a student of fishing and his knowledge and ability really surprised me. I think if Eli had his choice, he would go pro tomorrow and fish for a living. He, like his cousin, is eat up with it.
One day I was at the house and heard someone outside and there was Eli and Kade. They had a minnow bucket and some other gear but no rod and reels. I was a little perplexed and asked what they were planning. “Papaw, we need some shiners. We are going over to the spillway and set a trotline for catfish.” Kade was fired up as this was his first time trying this method and I loaded them up with gear and advise and off they went.
It is refreshing to see young people of today that are enthused by the outdoors. These Riverfield Academy students have a bright future ahead when it comes to fishing. My advice to parents is this: Take the time to give kids the tools to pursue something they are passionate about. When a kid shows an interest in fishing, try to identify what the skill level may be and work with them. Let them run the boat. Let them make some mistakes. Kade learned not only how to run a boat, but how to launch and safely navigate a boat in various conditions. The memories you make will not only last your lifetime but carries on a rich tradition that will be here long after we are gone. I am confident that you will see the names of Kade Gibson and Eli Corley on the leader board of fishing tournaments in the coming years. I am proud to be a part of the cultivation of their talent but mostly proud they include me in their desire to be the best.