Yesterday, Son #1 and I went to the Milwaukee Musky Expo.
I am not a fisherman (or woman) by any means. I still squirm while putting a worm on the hook, simply because the worm wiggles and squiggles and I know I'm inflicting pain on another living being.
On my own, I would never in a million years voluntarily spend my day at a Musky Expo. But with my son? It was magical.
From the time we walked into the exhibit hall, my son's eyes were wide open. He was clearly in his element. And that, for me, was the magic: I had the opportunity to see my son in a world that was his. In the world of musky fishing, he is the expert and the guide; I am merely along for the ride.
We wandered up and down the aisles, attended a musky fishing seminar by Tom Gelb (did you have any idea how much science is in musky fishing? Tom measures and records the temp at various depths and tracks the moon to decide where and when to fish), and met a number of wonderful people.
Musky fisherman -- at least those who were there -- are an incredibly welcoming bunch, eager to nurture the next generation. We talked at length to the national representative of Muskies, Inc., who referred us to the Milwaukee chapter representative a few booths over. We met and chatted with Dale MacNair, a Canadian fisherman who recently caught a MONSTER musky. A young-looking sales rep chatted with us and we learned that the 21-year-old runs his own guide service (since age 16), fishes on the pro tournament circuit and attends college, majoring in business. A fishing guide offered Son #1 a free day out on the lake when we're up North this summer, and the editor of Musky Hunter magazine said he'd take a look at an article by Son #1.
Every single one of these gentleman encouraged my son, gave him a business card, and told him to contact them if he has any questions.
Thank you, gentleman, for speaking to my son as an equal. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise, for reaching out a hand to the next generation. Thank you for encouraging a young boy's hopes and dreams and for showing him the way.