Never give up
Daughter renews joy of fishing
Gabby Crawford refused to fish for years, but all it took was one trip to the Atchafalaya Basin this summer and she was hooked all over again.
When my kids were young, I was determined they would be as eaten up with hunting and fishing as I was. They were dragged along on trips as often as possible, and the lessons stuck ≠ — at least with my son.
Garrett just couldn’t wait to get back out on the water, and he loved to shoot deer. Any deer. Still does.
Gabby, on the other hand, never cared for hunting. So I doubled down on fishing. We went bream fishing often, and watching her squealing as a big bull slammed her little spinner or pulled her cork under remains a treasured memory.
And there’s proof she loved every minute on the water. She appeared on two covers of this magazine before she was 10.
But then something happened: She turned into a girl, and all of a sudden she didn’t want anything to do with slimy fish. And crickets? Don’t even think about it — she shivered at the very thought of one jumping on her.
So I finally gave up, and before I knew it Gabs was graduated from high school and entering college.
When she returned home this summer, I started in on her, telling her we needed to get out on the water. She finally agreed, but swore she wouldn’t touch a cricket.
A few days later, with the August issue of the magazine safely at the printer, we loaded up and headed to the Atchafalaya Basin. My wife, Yvette, tagged along.
Gabs was still insistent that handling crickets wasn’t in her future ≠ — but I held out hope because her boyfriend had pretty much dared her, and right now Caleb holds more stock with my baby girl than I do.
When we reached the first spot, I dropped a cricket bucket on the front deck, handed Gabby a little spinning rig and told her to grab a cricket.
She whined a little, but sat down and grabbed the bucket with determination. She told me to shoot a video on my iPhone so she could prove to her beau just how brave she really is.
I wish I could post the vid for the world to enjoy, but she absolutely prohibited it. No fun at all.
The scene was hysterical. She tentatively reached into the bucket only to snatch out her hand several times because crickets moved. Her mother and I coached her, and she finally grabbed a hopper and threw in the deck triumphantly.
“It’s dead,” Yvette can be heard saying, and Gabby giggled and started all over.
Finally, she had a squirming cricket in hand, and carefully threaded it on the hook.
That was all it took. After that, she was a fishing fool, never hesitating to stick her hand in the cricket bucket or grab a fish.
And even though the action was painfully slow, we spent the day laughing and developing deeper bonds.
Gabs is now back in Hammond, living in an apartment with some friends. But we’re already itching to get back out on the water together.
Lesson learned: Never give up.†
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Louisiana Sportsman is the complete hunting and fishing magazine for Louisiana.
Devoted to hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities in the wetlands,
Louisiana Sportsman is the information guide for Louisiana's most active hunters and fishermen.
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