A Day with My Girls

Bucks Skeeter Yamaha

I don’t usually take much time to write about anything of a personal nature here on Advanced Angler; or anywhere for that matter. But, while we usually focus our efforts on our slogan of Elevating Fishing to the Next Level with our how-to content, I needed to write for myself a little today.

I travel a fair amount in my job, and recently; as you saw with the video content and photo galleries from the SPRO / Sunline / Big Bite Baits / Gamakatsu and Pinnacle Writer’s Conference at Table Rock Lake, I was on the road for eight days. I combined the trip with a visit to Jewel Bait Company to see their operation and headquarters in Mountain Home as well as a visit to Lew’s Fishing. I’ll have Behind the Scenes videos of both operations for you soon.

But, I digress. Being on the road takes me away from my family, and if I said that I was the perfect father when I am home; I would be less than honest. Running Advanced Angler takes a lot of my time, and while I have been taking more time for little outings with the family, I still need to do more.
My wife Christina is 100-percent hands on with the GirlzO’S (our nickname for our three daughters). She homeschools them and runs them around to all of their social and extracurricular activities and runs the household with a little help from me. So, when I got back from my trip to the Ozarks, I let her know that I had organized a weekend for her to go scrapbooking with her mom and aunt.

Scrapbooking is the one thing that Christina does for herself, and with three daughters; there is an endless supply of imagery to scrapbook. Plus, she gets to be in a space away from our 10, 11 and 13-year-old daughters without the burden of responsibilities for three sleeps – she earned it.

That’s the upside for her. The upside for me is some dedicated time with my GirlzO’S; which we haven’t done much of lately. The down side for me is finding activities for us to do for a whole weekend. Saturday morning was taken care of because Christina had found a coupon for an hour of jumping at the Sky Zone – a big court full of trampolines. The afternoon was full of going to Folsom Lake near our home to go to a weigh-in of Future Pro Tour, a semi-pro team circuit run by Vince Harris, one of my best friends, and the best man at our wedding.

The GirlzO’S love going to weigh-ins. They help with running weigh bags and they get to see a bunch of fish and eat hot dogs at the barbeque. But, that all got us through Saturday, what about Sunday?

Thank you Bass Pro Shops.

While I was traveling, I got an email from Katie Mitchell, a PR person at Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Marine about a Kids Challenge weekend at the stores. I posted the link on our Front Deck news page, then promptly called Katie to get more details. The day would include learning and activities that would help my kids better enjoy the outdoors.

There was a sleeping bag rolling lesson and race, a knot tying session, where they learned to tie some basic knots for use in the outdoors. A casting competition, a life jacket race and a kids archery range. When they finished each lesson, they received a mark on their checklist and at the completion of the day, they got to spin a wheel to collect a prize. I immediately outlawed the whistle as an acceptable prize because of an hour and a half ride home from the Manteca, Calif. store. The GirlzO’S all chose water bottle coozies; which of course I approved of because of their practicality and silence.

But, being their first time in a Bass Pro Shops, the girls were in awe of the store. They stared at the different fish tanks and habitats for long time and played the laser shooting hunting games and looked through the fishing department and the boats and eventually all of the gift areas and the BPS version of hunting and fishing Wii games.

All three of them loved the archery range outside. They all – with assistance from the instructor – shot fairly well, and McKaylie, our oldest, even popped one of the softball sized balloons on her final arrow. She had been wanting to try archery for quite a while, and this gave her an opportunity to do it.

She fell in love with it, and by the end of the day, my dad had bought her an early birthday present of a youth “Scout” version by Bear that the Boy Scouts use to introduce kids to archery. She is absolutely thrilled, and will of course, take turns with her sisters, and has agreed to not use them for target practice as well. Anyway, a staff member there in the hunting department set up the $39 bow and even gave the GirlzO’S a little lesson before we left the store.

It may have seemed like a small little thing, an hour and a half activity that the girls did, but what it really proved to be was a small open window into sports of the outdoors for my children. They’ve been fishing with me on my boat, and my middle daughter Delanie; who sported her TroKar Skeet Reese gear for the day, likes to fish, and has expressed interest in fishing a couple tournaments with me.

I’m waiting for my outboard engine to be rebuilt, and when it is done, will likely fish one or two events with her this year in Future Pro Tour. My youngest, Emberlie, like to fish as well, and I may have to take turns with them for a little while.

But, this seemingly little insignificant event for four hours on a Sunday afternoon gave me a chance to show the kids some areas of the outdoors that I couldn’t have on my own. Plus, it gave me a chance to spend some quality time with my kids that I rarely get to do in that manner. It really was a great day, and I applaud Bass Pro Shops for organizing it, and encourage all of you to take advantage of events like these at any of the establishments that take the time to set them up.

Yes, they are marketing opportunities for the retailer, and I did buy a few things that I needed for myself, but it really was an investment in the future of the outdoor sportsmen and women. For me, it was a real investment in my present, and I had a lot of fun with my GirlzO’S as a result. Thanks Bass Pro Shops, McKaylie, Delanie, Emberlie and GranDa, for a great day.