I recall telling my husband before he and I married that he spent too much time watching YouTube videos, browsing online forums and Facebook groups. To me, it was a waste of time, time that could be spent doing something active or chores around the house! There was one time I told him he was obsessed with fishing and needed to get his priorities in order. Besides, how many times could he actually watch the same episode of Tactical Bassin’ starring Matt Allen and Tim Little?
Matthew and I spent the first half of our dating relationship with 9 states separating us, he had a lot of fishing time on his hands. Every weekend, rain or shine, he loaded up his kayak and gear and headed to the lake. You would find him on Clear Lake most Wednesday evenings, I thought he was crazy fishing at night and in a kayak of all things! If he was not at work or on the water, he would have a fishing magazine in his hands, watching Major League Fishing or catching up on the latest fishing news online. I found myself a tad jealous of the amount of time he spent fishing as well as the time he invested to prepare for his upcoming tournaments. When we discussed our future together, I envisioned myself spending many weekends alone while he was out fishing.
Fishing is not a sport I am against, as a matter of fact, I thoroughly enjoy it, especially inshore saltwater fishing! My mom started taking me fishing for bass, bream and catfish at a young age and my dad got me hooked on chasing redfish. Although I enjoyed the sport, I did not consider myself a diehard fisherman! I was not familiar with fishing techniques, names of lures, the different types of rods and which line should be used, etc. Who knew that there were so many different types of fishing knots? I used to tie the hook on and pray it was tight enough! It was rare that I used artificial lures. As a kid we would dig nightcrawlers or grub worms in the garden or my mom would stop by Dooley’s tackle shop for crickets! They even sold these green neon nightcrawlers that glowed in the dark! Not sure what they fed those things to get them to be a green neon color, but the catfish loved them!
In the fall of 2016 we made the decision to close the gap between us and I joined Matthew on the West Coast. Can you guess where I spent my first Saturday in California? I should have known we were going to end up fishing sooner rather than later. The unpacking would have to wait. It had only been two days since we had arrived from our cross-country trip when Matthew introduced me to what he claimed to be one of the most amazing fisheries in the U.S., Clear Lake, aka the Bass Factory! I was not too sure how the fishing would be and honestly was a tad intimidated by him. Our fishing trips together prior to this were few and far between, all had been in a boat or inshore kayak fishing. This would be the first time we went Kayak Bass Fishing together.
Clear Lake was as he described and so much more! The sunrise, landscape, freedom of being the captain of my own boat and the tug of the bass hitting my lure, not to mention fishing next to my own personal fishing guide, I WAS HOOKED! We had so much fun that I agreed to go back to Clear Lake a few days later for my first night fishing trip. How could I have thought he was crazy for fishing at night? Other than the bats occasionally flying around me, I loved every minute being on the water and hearing the sounds of the bass as they fed. We spent a total of eighteen hours on the water that trip! When we came off the water that next day we knew we had found the perfect fishing partner in each other!
Before I began fishing with Matthew, I didn’t realize the amount of time it took to be a great bass fisherman! It takes knowledge of the fish and their feeding habits, how they react to certain conditions, changing temperatures, pre-spawn, spawn and the list goes on. Learning the body of water by studying maps of the lake and reading fishing reports are all important. There are skills that are acquired by practicing a technique over and over again, just as you would master any other sport. Tactical Bassin’ videos have become our number one online fishing show, especially for me as I learn new techniques!
My husband is not obsessed with fishing, he is passionate about it! He enjoys helping those eager to learn about the sport of bass fishing and will spend countless hours with them on the water, on the phone or by text giving advice. As I sit here listening to Matthew prerecord a podcast for Yak Tactics with Dean Limb and Chris Sartain, I am gleaming with pride! I am the wife of an amazing and humble man, who has been an inspiration for many anglers on the West Coast, including his number one fan, me!