Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy One Year Anniversary Fishing

That's right, I, Jason Jelinek aka Darkstar/Darkstar72 have only been fishing exactly one year today in my adult life.

I fished with my father as a child and I enjoyed the time spent together but as I grew older the time spent not catching fish helped my interest slip and I stopped fishing altogether.

Last spring when I started thinking about starting fishing again I turned to the internet to find fishing forums/blogs...anything that could teach me something about fish, fishing, and catching.  It was a fortunate turn of fate that I landed on DupageAngler.com. (DA for the rest of this post)

What attracted me to, and made me stay with DA is the sense of community there.  The site is run by two very caring founders who both have life long loves of fishing and both enjoy helping others find their own enjoyment at the reel-end of a fishing rod.

DA encourages an environment where I could ask any questions I had about fishing, gear, lures, and get several answers all in non-demeaning, non-smug, and coming-from-the-right-place advice to point me in the correct direction.

When I posted I was considering buying a baitcasting rod a member (Fluke) typed up info about casting setups and what makes one better than another.  Then he met me at Bass Pro Shops and showed me the rods, worked with what I had to spend and ultimately put a great setup in my hands that I still use today.  

When I posted I had gear and some knowledge but I didn't know the first thing about how to fish a plastic worm and didn't know why a fish would even want to eat such a thing Fluke met me at a pond in a subdivision that he knew to be a good one and showed me how to fish a Texas Rigged plastic stick worm weightless.  He told me to raise the rod tip up slowly, twitch, let the worm fall and wait for the TAP, TAP to set the hook.  First cast with a worm I hooked and landed my first largemouth bass.

When I mentioned I was interested in buying waders another member (Pondboy) gave me his advice (as did several others on the site) then took me wading for the first time.  I didn't own a spinning rod yet so he let me borrow one of his, rigged it up for me, taught me to drift bait, and shared river spots with me.  Teaching in a way that is more like fun than learning is another strength DA members have to offer.

When I chuckled and joked about ice fishing Pondboy and the others that enjoy the sport took it in stride.  One winter evening I got a call from Pondboy.  "I tested and the ice is thick enough.  What are you doing right now?"  My answer was that I was heading over to Pondboy's house to experience the colder side of fishing but I'll be darned if I didn't enjoy myself enough to extend my angling into the fourth season.  Now I have delusions (they'll happen) of getting an ice shelter and flasher unit.  (It's July and almost 100 degrees as I type this so one can't blame me for thinking about ice)

So when I sing the praises of DA I feel a deep personal connection.  These are the people that taught me how to fish.  They helped me obtain decent enough gear to insure I'd have a good experience.  They put up with my questions and gave me accurate and thoughtful answers.  In short order I've made lifelong friends and fishing buddies.

In January I was selected to be a member of the Dupage Angler Pro Staff.  It's not a pro-staff in the sense of going to tournaments or showing off a product, rather we moderate the site, serve to have the answerers to the questions and the help for those needing it. If I can help only one person find the enjoyment that I find in fishing I will be happy.  I will believe I've done my karmic duty as well as helped another person find the joy and connected feelings I have to nature when I'm out in it and fishing.

Tomorrow I'm getting up early.  I'm meeting Dave to take him out wading in the Fox River for the first time.  Fingers crossed we'll get him his first smallmouth bass.  They're like potato chips you know; can't just catch one.  Hey, I like that.

I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.  If I catch it, I'll share it with you here.