Shortly after joining the AKA group, my parents were in a terrible car accident. They were both in the Hospital for a week and then separated. Mom to rehab to six weeks and dad was able to go home for a short period of time. He had a stroke and was back in the VA. Every free second we had ,we spent it with our AKA friends. I was still working with Jeff when my dad passed away. He along with our other AKA friends really helped us during this time. One day after my dad's memorial, Luke told me that it was a good thing that we had bought our kayaks and joined the group because he thought we would have gone crazy if we hadn't been fishing and with friends during this time.
I did not catch any fish with the group in 2014. I had never fished from a boat or kayak and had a lot to learn. What I did learn is there are more ways to catch a fish than with just a worm. So I started taking pointers from Luke and all the AKA group. Crank baits, drop shot, jigs, spinner baits. Oh and how the heck to work my kayak in the wind.(still working on that lol). I only had one really big oops and that was when I turned over my kayak in deep water. Thanks to Ben Morton and Sean Slack I was able to easily get to safety. I was so upset, I lost three new poles and other accessories. But every person there I think came and talked to me to let me know that its ok and that I am not the first person to "turtle" I think is what Gerrad Golden called it. You don't get support like that in many places, especially in competitive environment.
As 2015 approached we were very excited. I had new Kayak a bunch of new gear and were ready to go. I actually started catching a fish in the tournaments! One is better than none right? I really started to learn that I was not patient enough, and I notice that I would become frustrated too much. When I asked our group what I need to do they again shared tips that would help me with my kayak and correct ways to use my baits. My fellow anglers kept encouraging me and always told me to not give up.
By August I had managed a couple of 13-13 1/2" fish in the tournaments that I was able to attend. Luke always caught 3 (he has more patience than I). During the summer however we found out that my mom had cancer. So my fishing ended so I could be with my mom. Almost every day we received prayers from our AKA group. Encouraging text messages and hugs. We never could have made it through this time without all their encouragement. My awesome mom went to be with the Lord September 20th 2015. Just a week or so before our favorite tournament at Beaver Town. I really didn't feel like I could go but my husband and family said I should go, I need the rest and company of friends. So we went and it was beautiful! We hung out with friends and received a lot of love. The cook out just topped that Saturday off. My heart felt good, and I knew my mom would want me to be there.
Sunday we were ready to go. We hit all the spots we hit at pre-fishing but nothing for me. Luke had caught fish and by this time I was frustrated and a sadness came over me that made me begin to cry. and cry to the Lord I did. Luke wasn't too far away thank goodness because I didn't think I could make it back. Just as I was starting to calm down, I heard a noise not far from me. Its a fish moving I thought so I casted right at the noise and what do you know, a 14 1/2" fish was on my line! Isn't it funny how God talks to us? How God leads us to people who become family? I was so happy with that fish even if it was just one.
My goals for 2016? Patience, learning the water, and spend as much time with our AKA family as possible.