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Fishing Memories and Inspirations: Real Stories From Avid Anglers  

Fishing Memories and Inspirations: Real Stories From Avid Anglers  

In a world where cell phones and laptops dominate everyday life, fishing is an activity that brings families and friends together in the real world. There’s nothing like getting out on the water, unplugging from technology, and anticipating your next catch. As Father’s Day and National Go Fishing Day approach on June 18th, we’re reminded of the parental figures that shared their cherished time on the water and passed down their love of fishing to future generations. Boatline interviewed several avid anglers and asked them to share their personal fishing memories in order to celebrate this nautical pastime.

What Inspired You To Start Fishing?

Fishing inspiration seems to come from all over. Many anglers were taught to fish at a young age by family members. Others developed a natural interest and curiosity in the world around them when they were kids. Regardless of where inspiration stemmed from, the anglers we interviewed picked up a fishing rod and never looked back. Here are a couple answers we received:

“My entire family was involved in fishing in one way or another. My father and my grandfather won the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City back in 1971. When I was a teenager, I started my maritime career as his mate on various charter boats.” (William D. Ballou Jr.)

“Growing up, our family spent most of our time outside. My father had me and my brothers fishing from the time we could stand up and hold a fishing rod, though my oldest brother and I are the only ones who stuck with the hobby.” (Darrell Meade)

“When I was a little boy, I lived next to the river and it was something that I could go do on my own with my dog. It was my escape. It was, and still is, incredibly therapeutic.” (Sean Green-Neff)

“I can’t really remember what inspired me to start fishing. I was so young. I just loved being outside and feeling that tug on my line. You never knew what you might catch.” (Shey Mahoney)

“My Uncle Charles was the person who introduced me to the outdoor sportsman life. He started me fishing at a young age, and I loved the excitement of it. My father saw how much I enjoyed fishing and bought a boat so we could fish together in the Chesapeake Bay. Even though he was prone to seasickness, he took me out fishing whenever he could. Looking back, I think he really just wanted to spend time with me and watch me have fun.” (Ralph Davis)


“I grew up fishing with my dad and grandfather.  It’s been a family pastime since I was a little kid, and I’ve always loved it.” (Kenny Shoop)

What Do You Enjoy Most About Fishing?

When it comes to fishing, there are several benefits that anglers enjoy. Whether it’s relieving stress on the water, the adrenaline rush of a great catch, or bringing home dinner to eat that night, fishing is a cherished hobby for various reasons. Here are some great answers we received. 

“I enjoy the serenity of being outside. Of course, the best part is actually catching a fish, but even if you don’t, the time spent outside makes for a good day. Since having kids and grandkids, it’s something I now get to share with them. Fishing in our pond has become the grandkids’ favorite part of visiting their grandparents.” (Darrell Meade)

“​​Fishing is so peaceful. Getting out in nature, especially when you’re alone, gives you time to think. I have such a respect for nature and for conservation efforts. Fishing responsibly is so important.” (Sean Green-Neff)

“No two days are the same. It’s always different, and the uncertainty is always present. The sense of adventure and being far away from land and being unplugged. The sea life that exists is worth the trip alone. Most important is spending time with family and friends.” (Dave Lineberry)

“So many things come to mind… Being on the water in general is amazing. The anticipation of what you might catch… Chasing a specific species, seeing if you can catch what you’re after, and trying to catch more and/or bigger fish than everyone else. Running a boat offshore on a calm summer day, chasing marlin or tuna on the East Coast, and watching the sunrise is probably top of the list, though.” (Shey Mahoney)

“It’s relaxing for me to get out into nature and go fishing. I call it my “marsh therapy”.” (Kenny Shoop)

“Fishing is relaxing, whether I catch anything or not. The relaxation of being on the water and the excitement of not knowing what you might catch is what makes every fishing adventure unique.” (William D. Ballou Jr.)

What’s Your Earliest Fishing Memory?

Many anglers have a vivid recollection of the first time they held a rod and reel and ventured out on the water. If not, they definitely remember the first time a fishing excursion left an impact on them. For those that we interviewed, many of their earliest memories occurred with family members, friends, or during a solo fishing trip. Here’s what they said. 

“I think I was about 5-years-old. My grandfather took me and a friend fishing on a rental boat on Little Creek Reservoir. We were just using bobbers and worms and caught a few small bluegill or perch. I was hooked after that.” (Shey Mahoney)

“I was 8-years-old. I was fishing alone under a bridge in my small hometown in South Florida and caught my first snook. I thought I snagged a rock, and when I started pulling really hard on the line, the line started pulling back. Once I caught the snook, I rode him home on my bike. Folks were passing me in their vehicles, honking and yelling “good job!” to me, celebrating that I caught this fish.” (Sean Green-Neff)

“My earliest fishing memory was with my childhood best friend on the Morehead City Waterfront. We took his dad’s boat out at night to go shark fishing.” (William D. Ballou Jr.)

“I was probably 6-7 years-old and my aunt and uncle had a river house on the James River. I would catch spot, croaker, bluefish, and occasionally we would catch channel catfish. Certainly fond memories.” (Dave Lineberry)

“My earliest fishing memory was when I was about kindergarten age, fishing under the Lesner Bridge with my father. He had just given me a new fishing pole. My first catch was a flounder.” (Kenny Shoop)

“When I was 13-years-old, I caught my first citation yellow perch. I wanted to catch a legal limit perch to take home for dinner that night, and I was thrilled to accomplish that goal. This isn’t my earliest memory, but it’s one that left an imprint.” (Darrell Meade)

What’s The Biggest Fish You’ve Ever Caught?

One of the most thrilling aspects of fishing is landing an unexpected catch and successfully reeling it in. This is especially true when you’re offshore on a beautiful day. At the end of the day, the experience is more meaningful than the number of fish you catch. However, catching a large one certainly adds to the excitement. Here are some stories we received. 

“My biggest catch was a big bull dolphin caught off the coast of Virginia while fishing with friends. It was a good 25lbs.” (Kenny Shoop)

“I used to go on a fishing trip every year with my best friends from childhood. We were 120 miles out from Ocean City, Maryland, when I hooked a 108lb tuna. It took all six of us to reel it in over an hour and a half. It was an exhausting fight but a great experience that formed a lifelong memory.” (Darrell Meade)

“The largest fish I caught myself was a 300lb bluefin tuna on the Cape Lookout shoals on a good friend’s boat. But one of my most exciting fishing trips was out in the Norfolk Canyon. I was running the boat with my son onboard, and we caught and released two blue marlin.” (William D. Ballou Jr.)

“My largest fish was a bluefin tuna weighing 304lbs. I caught it off the Outer Banks. It took just about an hour to land and was 84” in length. Our longest battle for a fish was 4.5 hours on a bigeye tuna.  We rotated 5 anglers 5 different times to finally subdue. The fish weighed 222 lbs and measured 72” in length.” (Dave Lineberry)

“My personal biggest fish that I truly cranked in was probably a black marlin in Costa Rica, which was around 400lbs.” (Shey Mahoney)

“I really enjoy offshore fishing. I’ve reeled in a 700lb blue marlin before while on a fishing excursion. It was exhilarating.” (Sean Green-Neff)

Where Is Your Favorite Place You’ve Ever Been Fishing?

Another great aspect of fishing is the opportunity it provides to explore different oceans, rivers, lakes, and waterways. From the crystal clear waters in the Caribbean to local rivers and lakes that you can easily access after a long day of work, there are endless fishing possibilities out there. We asked various anglers about their favorite fishing spots, and this is what they said. 

“My absolute favorite place to go fishing is offshore in the Florida Keys. It’s extremely relaxing and beautiful. I enjoy seeing all of the different wildlife in the deep blue water, like sea turtles and flying fish. My go-to local spot is Lynnhaven Inlet.” (Kenny Shoop)

“Without hesitation, I can say Hawaii. I did offshore fishing there, specifically for spearfish.” (Sean Green-Neff)

“I love fishing in Virginia Beach. It’s home, and I love it here. Tons of great inshore and offshore fishing to be had throughout the year. Other than that, the Caribbean is just so beautiful and also has some amazing fishing.” (Shey Mahoney)

“My favorite place to fish by far is the Florida Keys. The beauty of the water and the numerous species of fish makes it very hard to beat. I’ve caught yellowtail snapper, mahi-mahi, and sailfish there.” (William D. Ballou Jr.)

“I enjoy offshore and drive-on beach fishing the most. During the summer, I try to drive onto the beach or fish from the jetty as often as possible.” (Darrel Meade)

“Each year, for over a decade, family and friends join me, my son, and my son-in-law for an extra long weekend in Wytheville, VA to fish Cripple Creek. We all look forward to this trip and the anticipation of who will catch the most trout. It’s a weekend full of lots of laughs and fishing lore.” (Ralph Davis)

Whether you’re fishing inshore or offshore, locally or out of the area, with friends and family or alone, you’re sure to have a memorable experience out on the water. 

This summer, enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature with a fishing rod in hand. If you’re ready to buy a boat for all of your future fishing trips, check out our new and used nationwide inventory on


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Shelby Ballou
Shelby Ballou

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