Author: Jason Stutts (Lowhybred09)….
I have been fishing ever since I was old enough to hold rod and reel, or maybe just a cane pole. I credit my father, James Stutts, for instilling this love of chasing that feeling we all love to feel, the excitement of a tug on our line. Some of the earliest memories I have are being in a boat with my Dad. I grew up a military brat so I was lucky enough to fish in many different locations. But mostly I remember him taking me out on the Chattahoochee River on Ft. Benning, GA. As a kid, we would usually fish for whatever was biting. Sometimes that was crappie, sometimes bream, and other times it was my favorite of all fish species, the black bass. I quickly fell in love with this hard fighting, finicky little fish that gives me that all so right feeling of joy.
If the fish weren’t biting he would let me dangle off the back of his boat with a life jacket on, as alligator bait. Like most kids, my attention span wasn’t very big. So he never cared if I took my pellet gun and shot at turtles, or played with plastic worms in the bottom of the boat. Like any smart man, he knew for me to enjoy fishing, it had to be fun. Most of you know, fishing isn’t always fun for a little kid. Especially when it’s 100 degrees outside and nothing wants to eat, including the fish.
But lucky for me, my father is an excellent fisherman and usually we would catch something. So it didn’t take long before I knew this was going to be my favorite leisure activity. He taught me to us baitcasting equipment at a very young age. I think I was throwing a baitcaster before I knew how to ride a bike. We would take to the river or a beaver pond out in the woods, any chance we had. I treasured these times with my Father in the woods. Sometimes we would spend hours walking in the woods, dodging snakes and bugs, to find a spot where something was biting. And I loved every minute of it.
Like the military often does, they wanted my Father to move us up to Alaska. I absolutely loved this opportunity. The season to fish was short, but we always made the best of it. We made many trips to catch salmon, rainbow trout, grailing, and one of my favorite Alaskan fish, the halibut. One of my most prevalent memories was catching a 157lb halibut when I was only 12 years old. The fish weighed almost double my own weight.
Eventually, we moved back to Georgia, and my pursuit of the largemouth bass began again. I was 15 going on 16, and was about to be old enough to join the Ft. Benning Bass Club. My father had fished this club for several years when I was younger and when I turned 16, I joined with him. I loved being the young one amongst so many great fisherman and great guys. They welcomed me and taught me a lot about fishing. I fished as a non boater, out the back of these guys boats and usually did very well. My first year in the club I made the top 6, finishing 5th overall. I used my Dad’s boat to fish the Top Six Classic, and would you believe it, me a 16 year old kid made the Georgia State Team finishing 12th in the tournament. Was the last spot on the team, but I made it. Guess I learned a thing or two from my Dad over all those years.
Now I am a 30 year old man and life is quite different. I still chase bass any chance I get and absolutely love to fish with my father. It’s been a while since we have been able to fish together, but that’s what happens living some distance apart and having busy lives. But that doesn’t change the fact that he has done what any good father should do, and that’s spend time with their kid teaching them ways to enjoy life. Thanks Dad.