April 13th: 9th Annual Ms. Wheelchair Colorado Pageant & Benefit Car Show
April 13th: Outdoor Buddies Fundraiser Banquet @ the Wildlife Experience
May 10th: Kiowa Creek Sporting Club. Clay shoot for Craig Rehab
June 8th: Get Outdoors Colorado Denver City Park, Colorado
June 8th: Wild on Wheels Lakewood, Colorado
July 18-20th: Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament Beaufort, NC
August 8-11th: No Barriers USA Summit in Telluride, Colorado
04/01/09 A Remarkable Memory
Sport Fishing Magazine
FOR THE RECORD
A Remarkable Memory
by Tred Barta
I KNOW OF AN INCREDIBLE 89-YEAR-OLD WOMAN who has read every single issue of Sport Fishing and Marlin magazines from cover to cover. I mean every issue ever printed.
About a month ago, she told me a story of a 5-year- old boy fishing off a dock at the family cabin in the Rangeley Lakes region of Maine. He used a fiberglass rod, a black plastic Pflueger levelwind reel (quite the rig) and Cortland linen line that, she said, was white at one time but had turned gray from constant use. I couldn’t believe the detail of her description, nor the brightness and clarity of her eyes and mind as she told the story.
“That boy would fish for hours at a time with no success,” she related. “He could see the fish below but couldn’t make them bite. He stored his hooks in a little round tin. They had no hook eyes, and he had no leader. He tied the line to the shanks in horrible bundles of square knots — an ugly mess and very ineffective.”
One evening just at dusk, Lake Rangeley, its surface like glass, reflected an early rising full moon, casting the lake in a soft light that caresses the soul at the same time. The woman and her husband rocked on the cabin porch above the lake, watching the boy’s silhouette, stark in the moon glow, when he suddenly screamed at the top of his lungs, a cry that brought the two running.
The boy’s rod bent over with line screaming off the reel. He yelled to his p a rents, “Mommy! Daddy! Hooked up — help me, help me.”
The old woman confirmed the battle probably lasted only a minute or two but added that the huge fish breaking the glassy moonlit surface may as well have been the largest marlin ever hooked.
With what the boy thought was great skill and prowess (and lots of shouting); he lifted the great lake trout into a white spackle bucket shoreside. He had no net. The fish stretched at least 12 inches — maybe more.
Then came the discussion: Should the fish be killed or released? The boy burst into tears over a topic too large for a 5-year-old. He had worked so hard and spent so many days, and the fish was so beautiful.
The old woman continued her story, telling about an old porcelain-and-steel bathtub in the house that the parents filled with water pumped up directly from the lake. She described how they carefully placed the trout into the tub of water and shared the sheer happiness, love and excitement over the child’s first fish. Two hours past bedtime, he felt sorry for the handsome fish, no longer able to roam the great lake. So, the three of them walked quietly down a path laden with pine needles and moss. Then they released the trout. While the boy fought not to weep, both father and mother relished the birth of a fisherman and, more importantly, a huge step taken toward manhood — even at 5 years old.
What a great story! And imagine an 89-year-old woman commanding such detail over something that occurred more than 50 years ago. I love the remembrance of it. The story makes me so happy and yet sad too.
This woman was my mother. She passed away gently last night. I will always love her.
The number of people boating and fishing dwindles with each passing year. Few young people enter our sport. The industry has tons of excuses —economic times and cost factors, estranged families, etc. But there’s nothing more important than getting our youth involved in our sport, and you don’t do it with $5 million Calcutta tournaments.
I’ve written the back page of every issue of Sport Fishing since issue number one. I’ve owned seven offshore boats in my life and have bought and managed 16 exceeding 50 feet for others. I’ve raised almost $2 million for kids’ charities and have spent a small fortune on fishing. I don’t say this to brag, but rather to show just how and when this kind of passion and consumerism starts: with a 5-yearold boy.
I have my mom to thank for the great accomplishments in my life. She is why I am who I am and why I fish.
I love my sport and the people in it — my passion today still burns like a furnace. The future of our sport rests with young boys and girls, and it starts with their very first fish.
I dedicate this article to my mom, Judy, and my dad, Joe Barta. Thank you both for that moonlit night at Rangeley Lake, for my first fish and especially for teaching me what’s really important in life.
Till next tide and with Godspeed, Mom,
Capt. Tred Barta