Last night I was going through my fishing stuff in the closet looking for some lost lures and came across a box containing a vintage Shimano baitcasting reel. The reel was a bit dirty and had one screw missing for the level wind but otherwise was intact.
The reel used to belong to my father and I received it from my sisters when my dad was placed in a nursing home to get round-the-clock care due to his affliction of Alzheimer's.
The reel brought back memories of my cousin and I as young boys taking it and the rod it was attached to without permission one morning to go fish a canal down the road from where I lived. I also remember my father coming over the berm down into the canal and grabbing my cousin and I by the shoulder and taking us back home ending that fishing excursion mighty quick. Needless to say the rod and reel where off limits the rest of that summer.
I decided to clean up that old reel as best I could to place it in my office so that I don't forget my family's passion for fishing. My dad collected and fixed up rods and reels but didn't have much time to fish though.
My grandfather was a devoted fisherman. One of my earliest memories of going fishing was when I was probably three or four years old and going with my grandpa and my dad to fish the Brownsville ship channel. I remember they caught either a ribbon fish or some sort of eel that startled me. I also remember walking off and stumbling into some cactus and getting needles in my palms and my knees and my dad pulling them out while I bawled my eyes out. My grandfather kept on fishing of course.
My grandfather was an excellent fisherman. I remember eating fresh fish he would bring home that my grandmother would skillet fry after battering the fish in corn meal. That fish was delicious! My grandfather was also very partial to flounder.
My cousin often says that he and I inherited our grandfather's passion for fishing. It's in our blood though for my grandfather a big part of it was also to simply put food on the table.
My grandfather passed away when I was about 14 and most of his beloved fiberglass rods and Penn reels and other saltwater tackle got dispersed among uncles and son-in-laws. Several years later my grandmother found one tackle box that she allowed me to have that belonged to him. I still have it though I don't use it.
I hope one day I can pass on some of my gear to my son, son-in-law or grandchild and it will remind them of our love for this sport.