Be a Good Person First. A Good Fisherman Second.

be a good person first a good fisherman second

Sometimes the good Lord puts us where we’re supposed to be – not where we want to be.

Good morning, brothers.

I was sitting in the church pews with my boys this last weekend – all 4 of them – and their very patient mother. Sitting in church is a good thing. Even in a non-spiritual sense. It helps you slow down, because you have to be still. Be quiet. Listen. Be patient.

It’s not unlike fishing.

Our day-to-day hustle & bustle is the opposite. When I was a kid the difference was not as extreme, but with everything we have these days – all the convenience, instant answers to everything at our fingertips, a plethora of 6-second video clips to satiate our “boredom”, cheap little dopamine hits nonstop… it’s a stark contrast.

My two oldest sat to the right, one of the middles on my lap, the youngest sitting with Mama. I started to think about how lucky I am to have this family, to live in this country (warts & all), and to do what I do for a living.

None of it was planned, and all of it is a blessing.

It’s far better than anything that I could have dreamed up myself.

Somehow, on more than one occasion, God has put me in the right place at the right time, to do something that I wasn’t prepared to do. It reminded me of a story from late last season…

I was Fishing for Largemouth in a Small Pond…

It was fall. The air was cool, and the pond I was fishing sits next to a playground that is usually empty. For whatever reason, on this particular afternoon, it was alive with kids. They were crawling all over the slides & swings, running, screaming, drooling, falling, whining, arguing, laughing… all of it.

I love kids, but was happy to move away from the noise and over to the nearby pond to focus on some fishing.

Some days you’re lucky and you get to fish remote wilderness, other days… you gotta do what you can with what you got!

Creek Fishing Trip Low Water Kayak
Not a playground in sight…

I was using a heavy spinning rod to avoid backlashes since the shoreline was loaded with sticks and cattails and all sorts of snaggy items, throwing a Z-Man Bang Stick (floating, green pumpkin & blue mix) on a 2/0 Trokar Pro-V with a 1/32 ounce black bullet weight and Texas rig. (Check out the Eagle Claw Storefront to see what they have listed at this time.)

In about 20 minutes, I caught 2 small fish.

Good sign.

Top 4 Bass Stickbaits Z-Man Bang StickZ
These Z-Man Bang Sticks came into play big time late last season…
Largemouth Bass Bank Fishing Strike King Super Finesse Worm Floating z-man bang stick pond
… especially in ponds where I wanted a super-slow sinking stickbait that stayed just off the bottom.

After a few more minutes, this little kid wandered over by me.

Nice kid… maybe 4 or 5… he was sporting some messed up hair and had random food speckled all over his face.



“What are you doin’?”

“Fishing. What are you doing?”

“I dunno.”


“Can I fish too?!”

“No buddy, but you can hang out with me if you want… where are your parents?”

“Mommy brought me here but I don’t –



As I pulled a small largemouth bass up over the bank full of tall weeds, the kid shrieked with joy.


“Haha, yeah buddy it’s a little –


“Well sure you can… but… I mean where is your mama again?”

I held the small slimy fish out towards the boy, while he carefully, timidly, poked and prodded the bass, I scanned left and right as quickly as I could, hoping to find his parent(s)… but all I could see were groups of children under the close surveillance of their folks. No sign of anyone looking for my new little buddy here…

“Does he bite? Does he have teeth??”

“Uh… oh, no, he has some tiny teeth but he won’t hurt you. Here pop your thumb out I’ll show you how to hold ‘im…”


I laughed loudly, it certainly wasn’t the first time I’d seen a child object to putting their thumb in the mouth of a fish – so I tossed it back.

“Hahaha, no worries buddy – you let me know when you’re ready to hold one.”

“Can I keep fishing with you?!”

“I mean… yeah I think you better…”

Again, I scanned the area. This kid had been next to me for 20 minutes now.


We walked over to the right a bit, around the side of the pond to a little concrete platform. He was everywhere, running circles around me. Any hope I had for stealth was long gone. He picked up sticks and swung them around, hooted & hollered.

Just a kid.

I moved to the left of him in case a rouge hookset came flying free – didn’t want to snag him. In fact, the longer he was with me, the more I felt the need to protect him. Then it hit me –

What if I was a creep?

What if I wasn’t a harmless fisherman. What if I was a pedophile. A kidnapper. An opportunist… any number of bad, bad, bad things – what then?

Then this kid would be in a very different situation right now.

I shuddered at the thought of what this day could have been for this poor kid…


Another hookset. SOLID FISH. She flashed sideways and I could see the GIRTH. Big girl.

“Hey do you have a fish is that a fish A FISH A FISH BIG FISH FISHFISHFISHFISH!?!?!?!”

“I… uh *grunt* yeah bud just lemme focus on –


Slack in the line.

The big girl that would have made it one heck of an afternoon just came unbuttoned…

Fortunately, I didn’t have much time to be sad, as my new buddy jumped left and right and 2 mothers with 4 children approached us. The kids ran over to join him, all 5 picked up rocks… and every single one started hurling them right where we had been fishing.

Guess I’m done.

No matter, at least I’ve finally found this kid’s mom.

“Oh hey there, sorry they’re being a little noisy! Tee-hee!”

“No worries, I’m just glad he’s back with his friends.”

“Oh we… we don’t know who he is… we thought he was with you??”


Rocks continued to fly through the air and crash into the pond. All 5 children were laughing and screaming – it was impossible to be mad even though my afternoon of fishing was clearly over.

“I don’t know who this kid is or where his parents are.”

“Oh no – well, we haven’t seen anyone looking for him on the playground…”

“Hmmm… well, I’ll keep him with me until we figure it out – hey buddy, let’s go for a walk!”

My little friend came scampering over.

It had been just under an hour by this point.

“Are we gonna CATCH MORE FISH!?”

“Heh, no big man, I think the fish are all hiding under logs after it rained rocks on ’em – let’s go look for your parents.”

We walked back to the playground.

Back to the pond.

Back to the parking lot.

Back to the pond.

Playground again.

Lap after lap after lap.

“I’m tired…”

“Yeah I know buddy but I’m not really sure what –


There was mom. Phone in hand. Pajamas. Filthy old slippers. Running. Screaming. Looking for her son… who had been with me – a stranger – for well over an hour.

“It’s my mom – I gotta go – HI MOMMY!”

He hollered and started to run towards her.


… was it… was it the kid’s fault he was left alone at the park for over an hour?

Was mom watching TikToks in the car while he was left to wander alone?

Hmmm… hard to say… suppose we shouldn’t assume anything.

“Hey miss, he’s ok, he wandered over to me about an hour ago when I was at the pond. Been with me the whole time – we didn’t know where you were but I’m glad he’s with you now.”

This woman turned and glared at me like I had 3 heads.

Didn’t say a word.

Looked back to Billy and started in again – reaming him – it was all his fault, you see. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but Billy boy… Billy was gonna get it.

4 or 5 years old.

She grabbed his arm, jerked it way too hard, and pulled him towards whatever car was hers.

He started to cry.

And that was it.

That was the last time I’d ever see Billy.

I stood there with my fishing rod in my hand. Bothered.

Really bothered.

So much could have gone wrong for little Billy on this afternoon… and yet… none of it would have been his fault. I was relieved he had ended up with me – just a normal dad and fisherman putzing at a city pond – but at the same time, I was bothered to see him being yanked off like that.


It was wrong.

In terms of fishing, my afternoon had sucked…

But as I quietly loaded my gear into the truck, one thing was very clear to me:

Sometimes the good Lord puts us where we’re supposed to be – not where we want to be.

I didn’t want to spend the afternoon fishing a lame little pond instead of a remote area.

I didn’t want to entertain some random little kid.

I didn’t want to listen to a noisy playground and watch rocks get thrown at my bass.

But I was supposed to be there this afternoon.

My hope – no, my prayer – was that little Billy’s mom realized how easy it would have been for someone to come along with bad intentions, and wander off with her son… I pray that she realizes she dodged a bullet. I pray that it never happens again. That this was a wake up call.

Maybe… maybe not…

Either way – I pray that God continues to put me where I’m supposed to be… and brothers… pray He does the same with you as well.

His plans are always better than our own.

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

Thank you Readers!

Thanks for visiting! I’m going to keep doing everything possible to keep the helpful content coming, and FREE FOR EVERYONE… but I need your help. Please chip in by making a small monthly contribution to keep this site alive & growing. $4.96 will buy a sweet Pack ‘o Dingers, and with it, I promise to catch many bass in your honor. Thanks. You are a gentleman & a scholar! -AJ

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