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It is every dad's dream to share his passions with his children. When that passion is a love for being outdoors an incredible lifetime of bonding and lessons often gets passed down from generation to generation. “Take a kid fishing” was a mantra in the 1950s and as an avid outdoorsman today in 2020, I appreciate that it was.
Our knowledge and passion for fishing, paddling, and nature was passed through generation to generation. Coming home from The Great War, many young men found themselves seeking the tranquility of nature to help slow life back down and transition back to civilian life. Fishing, canoeing, and exploring became pastimes when before they were skills used mostly for sustenance. Organizations like the Boy Scouts of America encouraged the young men to get outside and learn to appreciate nature for what it is. Given these influences our grandfathers started something that I doubt they knew would become what it has; a passion for something that connects all of us, a love for adventure that was passed down to our fathers, and ultimately to us, an heirloom of a mindsight, and lifetimes of adventure.
Vibe pros have spent good portions of their life in the outdoors, and many have hundreds of stories to tell about the Dads (or father figures) who influenced their passion for adventure, or about how they themselves have passed that passion on to their own kids. Here are a few of these stories:
The Bearded Fisherman recalls - “Some of my fondest memories fishing as a child were with my Gran-Gran. To me one of the greats. WW2 sniper, hot rod builder, and just a great man. He and my grandmother would take me fishing at Lake Weiss in Centre, Alabama. After the full moons during the summer, we would chase bream. My gran-gran thought it was hilarious every time he caught one to squeeze it just a bit and cause it to squirt all over me and my grandmother. So inevitably we all would begin catching fish and squeezing them. I cannot imagine what we smelled like but it was a blast. Red-eared water guns!”
Jeff Jones shares a more recent story about instilling some outdoor enthusiasm in his youngest daughter - “One of my greatest memories fishing with my kids was with my youngest daughter. (3 y.o.) I took her fishing in a very active location for white trout. I was casting for her and letting her retrieve the lure, all of a sudden, she screams, “Daddy, I got a big one!” Thinking it was just another small white trout, I saw her kiddie rod double over, drag screaming, and realized she was fighting a much bigger fish than we’d been catching. After a few minutes, she finally got a respectable sized speckled trout in range for the net. We decided since it was her first speck that was legal-sized, we would take it home for dinner. That night she made sure to tell the story of catching it to her siblings and mom, and expected everyone to “thank her” for dinner”
Kyle Stewart shares a story about chasing big tuna off-shore - “Never forget my first tuna trip with my dad. On the weekends, He was a deckhand on a 55’ ocean yacht off Dauphin Island that a very good family friend charter fishes with. On all his trips, if there was an open spot, I was able to tag along and help him, deckhand. Doug (the captain) decided to set up a tuna weekend trip with just some friends to see how he thought the fall season was gonna be. So I was able to tag along! We caught bait on our way out Friday and made our way to about 70 miles offshore. We pulled up to a rig and within 5 minutes BOOM big wahoo is hooked up. Since this was my first trip, all the older men let me take the fight. After 35 minutes we got him to the boat! (48 lbs) so shortly after, we got it the Blackfin tuna thick. And when I say thick, I mean we had 6 rods out and were catching 6 fish at the same time. Insane! Well after a while of this, my 16-year-old self had rubber arms and decided I was gonna take a breather and get a snack. I went into the galley and was making a sandwich when dad flung the door open. “Son, the fish are NEVER like this! Forget that sandwich, get back out here and catch these fish!” (Only time I wasn’t thrilled to catch a fish lol) So anyways we catch over 100 blackfin throughout the night. Sun starts to rise, and we decided to troll for a bit and relax as the sun rose. Well beaten and tired and finally thought ohhhh I’m gonna sit and relax. About that time Drag started spoolin. Well perks of being the “young buck”, and all the older men being wore out, “Kyle, come catch this fish for us” So off we go to the fights again. About a 30 min fight and landed my first 55 lbs yellowfin! I remember every fishing trip with my dad on that boat, had an absolute blast growing up and working/fishing off a charter boat all my teen years with him”
Dustin Paul Michel has been sharing his passion for the outdoors with his middle son for years he recalls the very first solo bass that he caught – “My middle son was always into fishing. Ever since he was in diapers he had a pole in his hand in the backyard just casting with a fake rubber fish on the end. I would take him to the local ponds and we would catch small bluegill or little catfish. He would see me catching bass and always wanted to land one himself. As he got older he kept practicing and catching his perch. One day I took him to a pond we don’t regularly fish thinking it would be the same ol’ trip. But what became was one of the proudest Dad moments of my life. He would usually bring two rods with him on our trips a spinning reel combo and his ‘bass’ rod (Zebco) that I Texas rigged a Junebug worm on for him. We were working the bank like normal and he was making a couple of casts with his Zebco. I’m about 10 - 15 feet away from him when I hear him yell ‘Fish on’. He is fighting a fish that has his pole bent. It jumps. It’s a bass. He is screaming with excitement as am I. He gets it up on the bank and he can barely hold the fish his hands are shaking. I was so proud of him landing his first bass all by himself.”
Zach Adkins recalls how having supportive parents helped him kindle his own passion for the outdoors - “Growing up as 1 of 6 kids on a single income meant a lot of things. Extravagant living wasn’t really one of them but both of my parents made life the best it could be for all of us. Our house was situated right on the banks of the local river. It wasn’t the proverbial “live so close you can throw a rock and hit it” but more of a literal “throw a rock off the back porch and see how far you can make it across the river”. We also had a few small ponds and lakes within a 30-minute drive. My dad wasn’t much of a fisherman, but he and my mom were 100% supportive of anything we did in the outdoors. They knew what keeping us outside meant for us in the long run, life lessons, staying out of trouble, etc. I don’t know if one memory, in particular, stands out when thinking back on my fishing memories with my dad since he wasn’t much of a fisherman. However, I think back on the hundreds of outings where he would take me and drop me off at the local creek, or tag along and go for walks or read a book while I fished nearby. He may not have been a hardcore angler like a lot of us are, but my entire fishing life I owe to him and my mom for keeping me in the outdoors and supporting my passion for fishing even if they weren’t into it themselves like I am. I have not forgotten that and will be forever grateful.”
Chris Mercer has been encouraging his kids to follow their passions for years, he shares a story about fishing with his oldest - “One of my best memories with my son is a few years back. He was fifteen at the time. We decided to go on a Kayak trip to Florida. It was the week of Thanksgiving. So we loaded up the Seaghost 130’s and headed out. I booked the first two nights at Manatee Springs State Park as I heard that the manatees would come into the springs to stay warm. We loaded the kayaks into an enclosed trailer which we used as our camper with an air mattress on the floor.
The first day we traveled to the park. Set up camp, then hit the water. We paddled out to the Suwanee River. I decided to use a drop shot rig. As I have never fished in Florida waters. The spring was super clear! I have never see river water so clear. As we paddled out to the river it became more tannic colored. We caught a few smaller fish. Nothing to speak of really. However, I did catch a Fish with some serious teeth! Fish ON! I had caught a Bowfin fish. It was pretty scary as they fight hard like a catfish but have teeth. My son was laughing so hard at me as I was a fairly novice fisherman. We fished a few days at the park then headed to Tallahassee to hang out with Lee Norris and Harry Smith of Harry Smith Outdoors. Harry is a great guide and resource to hang within that area, he is also a Vibe Dealer. Harry and Lee let us camp at the shop for the night. By camp at the shop I mean they had a couch and an area we spent the night in while in town. The next morning we met up to fish some local waters. We went out to a bay area and launched our Kayaks. Lots of Oyster beds lots of paddling to get to the area we were going to fish. This is where I caught my first and only GAR fish. Great another fish with teeth! Why do all the fish have teeth in Florida! The next day we fished the Waculla River. Fairly slow river. Caught some bass and some panfish. Overall we took about five days, kept it super simple, and super cheap! My son is ok with fewer amenities as he is an Eagle Scout now. So he is used to camping and living small. We made Nutella quesadillas. Ate like men and had meat and taters. And the occasional Mexican restaurant. This was truly a Father-Son trip to remember.”
Iliana Thomas shares a story about the father of this company sharing his love for kayaking and adventuring with her - "I’ve been fishing with my dad for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was little, way before Vibe was even an idea, I wanted to be just like my dad. This led to me going on every fishing trip with him that I could. At that time, my mom had no interest in the outdoors or fishing whatsoever, so it was mainly just me, my dad, and occasionally my sister. I would brag to friends about all the fish I had caught and adventures that we would go on. Of course, with kayaking, I didn’t really have a choice because I eventually would have to at least like it. It wouldn’t make sense for me to hate kayaks when I see one almost every day, so of course, I grew to love the sport. I was just so used to being in a big boat where I don’t have to do much work to get from one side of a lake to another, so it took me a little bit to understand what kayaking is about. The only kayaks I had tried were huge compared to me, so I didn’t have any interest in them for a while since I could barely move the boat. When he came to us with an idea to start a kayak company, we thought he was crazy, but the passion and drive that he had for the sport which led him to make a career out of it was fascinating. That love for fishing and being outdoors with him never stopped, so when the skipjack was released, it was perfect. I was finally able to understand his passion without having to handle a giant kayak that was impossible for me to move around with. I started to have a similar passion as he did. I was able to enjoy those same fishing trips as I did before but in a new way. The older I got, I never lost that love kayaking. I am a teenage girl now so waking up early to go fishing isn’t quite my strong suit anymore, but I will always love the outdoors and kayaking because of my dad. I am forever grateful for him “forcing” me into this sport, and I am so glad that we are able to share all of our love for it to our customers all over the country!"
It is clear that fathers have had a huge influence on the team. Whether it is our own fathers sharing their outdoor passion, or it is the fathers on the team, encouraging their kids to love the outdoors. A father's bond with his children and shared love for adventure are cornerstones upon which we build our lives.
Thanks for taking a kid fishing.
No Drama. Just Adventure.