Fishing & Boating News

Thoughts on the Magic of Fishing...

by: Babe Winkelman, Babe Winkelman Productions

(Aug. 21, 2010 - ) There's always been something hypnotizing about water. Imagine the way it shimmers and shines like diamonds on a bright, breezy summer day. Picture the perfect pace of a moving river, churning along as if driven by something more powerful than gravity. Think about a glass-flat lake and the way it reflects all the nature above it, to double its beauty. Water is mesmorizing, and the amazing fish that call it home - well, they're my life.

Ever since I was a little boy, I've been drawn to water. The sound of the babbling creek that coursed through the family farm was the first waterway to draw me in. Looking down from the steep bank, I saw what would be my destiny for the very first time... I saw a fish! It looked huge, and I remember running back to the farm to tell my Dad. I asked him what kind of fish it was, and he joked that it was a tarpon! Being just a little whipper-snapper, I believed him. Why wouldn't I? After all, I didn't know what a tarpon was.

Naturally, it wasn't a tarpon swimming in that central-Minnesota stream. It was a sucker. And I was determined to catch it; or at least one just like it. Dad set me up with an old fiberglass rod and a push-button reel full of coiled monofilament line. I dug angle worms out of the garden and proceeded to spend many afternoons soaking worms in that little creek. Then one day it happened... an old sucker took the bait and the fight was on!

I don't think there's ever been a kid as proud as little Babe returning home with that writhing fish in the bottom of my pail. That one fish sealed my fate as an addicted angler. And it forever changed my viewpoint on the sight of water. Ever since, whether looking out at a lake, river or vast ocean, my thoughts always dive beneath the surface to all the fish swimming underneath. I wonder which species they are; and at what depth. I ponder where they're going; what they're eating. And I think of ways to catch them!

As I grew older, I spent nearly every free minute fishing. Between chores as a youngster. After work and on weekends as a young adult. I worked construction to earn money for a boat, electronics, tackle and travel. I eagerly fished the lakes and rivers around my home, and kept expanding my list of destinations. As I did, my skills as an angler grew. I kept a fishing diary to help myself unravel the effects of cold fronts, warm fronts, moon phases, wind and other conditions on all the freshwater species I pursued.

There was a magic to fishing, because there is a mystery to it. And that's what drove me to keep fishing. I was determined to solve the mysteries of fish behavior, so I could ultimately catch more. As I improved my skills, the next logical step was to fish tournaments. I have always been a competitive person, so I hit the tournament trail with gusto and fished bass and walleye tournaments all over the country. And even though it was challenging and rewarding to fish against other fisherman, the real contest was still against the fish themselves. Those were exciting and interesting times, and they helped inspire me to make fishing more than my life. I wanted to make it my livelihood too!

So I sold my stake in the successful construction business I had built up and made a run at fishing for a living. It has been a wild ride, and I'm blessed to still be producing episodes of our "Good Fishing"television program today.

What keeps me going? The magic of water and the mysteries of fishing. I'm still trying to learn more about fish, every time I make a cast. But beyond that, I continue the fishing life to help others discover the same magic. I introduced all my daughters, and now my grandchildren, to angling. There is no greater place to bond with your children than in a boat. Fishing brings people together in a wonderful way, and my hope is that with every episode of our show, I can inspire others to not only go fishing - but go fishing with loved ones.

Looking back over the years, my mind always goes back to that little creek and that sucker I caught. It was such a simple beginning to a magical life on the water.

Good Fishing!

Babe Winkelman is a nationally-known outdoorsman who has taught people to fish and hunt for nearly 30 years. Watch his award-winning "Good Fishing"and "Outdoor Secrets" television shows on Versus (VS.), Fox Sports Net, Wild TV and many local networks.