Every outing you make is not going to be an epic, front cover, hero shot excursion. That’s ok. We all make mistakes. We break rods, spook big fish, and generally do all the uncool stuff that gets edited out of your favorite videos. Case in point, datroutcrew is currently chasing fish in the Florida Keys. It’s tarpon season. It’s warm and beautiful. Sounds awesome, right?
As our fearless leader, I loaded my wife Amanda, our two boys who are 5 and 8, and our LIVE paddleboards and headed to the spot I’d scoped out on Google Earth. I had it all worked out. We would paddle across a small grass flat and down a tidal creek, all the while catching snook and baby tarpon. Enter reality. We had a cast free paddle across an extremely windy “flat” and entered our tidal creek of choice. The current and depth of our chosen drainage was way too deep and fast to stake out or cast while drifting. Mere minutes into our exploration of said creek, the mangroves claimed their victim. My wife’s sweet Echo 3S 8wt that I gave her for Christmas. While navigating a sharp, narrow turn in fast current, the tip snagged and gave up the ghost.
Admitting defeat, we turned and started our long paddle back. Long is a drastic understatement. We paddled against the current and into the wind for the next two miles. We were spent. We had traversed a large expanse of beautiful water with nary a fish to show for it. I was disappointed and disgusted. I had not been the leader I strive to be for my family. Then came the learning part. What I had forgotten, as I sometimes do in my obsession of catching big fish, was that my sons saw everything differently. They were so excited about all the thing we saw along the way. Sharks, starfish, and birds. They were on an adventure through mangrove tunnels. They ate their snacks like pirates must have hundreds of years ago on the open sea. My youngest was worn out and actually fell asleep on the boards on the way back.
You see, it’s not always about the fish. It’s not always about the epic. Most times it’s about family. It’s about experiences with the ones you love the most. Even if those experiences aren’t the ones you planned! As I write this I look back over the day and take notes on my mistakes. I figure out small things to do next time to make the adventure even grander. Mainly, I try to see the world through the eyes of my boys, because they see only the awesome!