As a kid our family had a condo in a town called Bradenton, FL and it was there that I got my first lesson regarding fishing. It was a long time after that for me to realize what I had been taught. The complex that we had our condo at had ponds on the property that were all dug to mimic the Great Lakes. In those ponds you could catch Bluegill, Bass, and Catfish –  your normal pond fair. 

It was a few weeks a year, maybe up to two months that we would spend there a year (summer breaks used to be longer) that my passion for fishing was sparked. My grandparents on my Dad’s side were permanent residents in the same condo complex. So that being the case some of their friends had boats so we would fish in the bays and offshore targeting Grouper, Snapper, and Sheepshead with them and when we were not doing that I was rippin’ lips in the ponds around the condo.

When I would go fish I had my rod and reel and artificial worms but I had to get hooks from Grandpa. At the time and at my age I didn’t ask the question I just went with that protocol. I would jump on my bike or run to their condo, get a hook, he would watch me tie it on and then I would be off. Grandpa would only give me one hook, no pack of them to put in my little tackle box, just one single hook. Keep in mind at the time I didn’t realize this was a test and lesson. Like I said I would go fish, sometimes all day without losing my hook then other times I wasn’t out very long. 

All adults know that hindsight is 20/20, challenging concept for a kid. So here we are all those years later and I never understood how grandpa could tell how I lost my hook. I probably went 10 years without understanding until it clicked. 

I would come running back to grandpa’s condo hoping that he wasn’t there so I could take another hook without having to tie one ten times in front of him. Rarely was he not there when I needed a hook and yes I would have to tie it 10x and put it on this tool and tug it to prove it was a good knot. 

So as I mentioned here we are 10 years later and it all clicked, I figured it out. The magic secret to him knowing how I lost my hook was clear. If it was a clean break then your knot was strong if it had the pig tail then your knot failed. Amazing right, how could he have known (I was young)! All along it was not grandpa trying to be cheap and not let me carry hooks, it was him teaching me the importance of a strong knot when you fish. To this day when I have a knot fail, albeit this doesn’t happen often I look to the sky and smile and tell grandpa “yeah that was my fault”. Good thing for me I control my own tackle inventory!

This is something that I will remember and will carry on for the rest of my life. Even if I am fishing with a buddy and they have a knot fail I laugh, look to the sky and immediately think about my grandpa. Thanks for the lesson Grandpa!