ZONA: NERVOUS FOR BEHEMOTH BLUEGILLS
Story by Mark Zona
There’s a good chance that several of you have seen the show I filmed with my sons catching magnum bluegill at The Kingfisher Society’s lake near Laurel Hill, NC. What you may not have been able to see through the TV is how horribly nervous I was.
See, here’s the deal, I get nervous before every episode we shoot of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, but when my twin 12-year-old sons Jakob and Hunter were involved I got even more nervous. I don’t care if I fail to catch fish on camera, I’m not afraid to show reality, but you don’t want your 12-year-old sons to fail on camera. We were there to make memories. Good memories.
Turned out, the biggest bluegills I’ve ever seen in my life bit like savage barbarians, and the boys handled themselves on camera way better than I thought they would. And thank goodness, I handled myself way better than I thought I would.
I look at the footage of that show, and I realize the best, the very best thing, my dad ever did for me was put a fishing pole in my hands. As a kid in suburbia Chicago, fishing was my friend. Whether my boys grow up to be fisherman or not, at least I know that by taking them fishing I’ve given them an opportunity to be good humans. Fishing does that.
Fishing creates better human beings, but taking your whole family on a 12-hour road trip down to North Carolina creates a lot of anxiousness. See, when I’m out there on the road as ‘the lone wolf’ (that’s my CB handle), and something mechanical happens when I’m by myself, that’s one thing, but dragging a boat 700 miles with your whole family on board is a whole new bag of anxiety.
The Z Train doesn’t do wrenches. Tools are not my friends. Which is all the more reason, that on that trip, more than any other, I was darn glad I had a BoatU.S. Angler membership card in my billfold. If I have a flat tire, or smoke a trailer hub, I know I can call their toll free number, and those guys will have my back, and that calms the nerves.
As a little side bar -- I hate to watch myself on TV. But, it just so happened; our whole family was over at some friends’ house when that episode aired on The Outdoor Channel, and so were a bunch of girls about the same age as my twins. You shoulda seen those girls diggin’ on Hunter and Jakob while that show was on. My boys can thank me in five years for that.