By Capt. Steve Chaconas
Traditional roles of motherhood have taken on added responsibilities.
Driving the kids to ball games, after school activities, and full-time careers are making mothers strangers of their children. The village that used to raise children is now cold and deserted.
But tournament moms find that fishing creates better and longer-lasting relationships with their children.
Opting to have children and a job, a few ladies decided on a family-friendly career—professional bass fishing.
Tournament fishing brought Jimmy and Lucy Mize together, but family responsibilities temporarily took Jimmy out of the competition. Pro-angler Lucy Mize, however, maintained her presence on the women’s tours and also fished many B.A.S.S. events.
For the Mize family, introducing the kids to fishing was quite natural – and necessary.
During practice times, the kids would fish or play with toys while mom and dad worked. The Mize kids built tents under the console and practices were often interrupted with diaper changes and feedings.
Tournaments became a family affair, “We did it out of necessity but wouldn’t change it for anything! We have something special that other families don’t have…we have something in common.”
In addition to chatting about school and daily activities, this fishing family brought their work home, putting patterns together around the supper table.
The best-known parent/child team was the Martens from California. This mom and son team took to the trails, taking everyone’s money along the way.
It didn’t take long for pro-angler Carol Martens to recognize the fishing greatness in her son, Aaron, a BASSMASTERS Angler of the Year.
Aaron took to bass fishing, “In 1988 Aaron pointed out a tournament that was going on, saw all the fancy boats and said that’s what I want to do. It took me by surprise, we had never talked about it.”
The incredible team of Marten and son cashed a check in nearly every tournament they fished!
Carol and Aaron spent day and night together, car-camping and roughing it to events. “I would work hardest to make him a good sportsman,” Carol says.
She made him stay to the end of tournaments to shake hands with the winners. They worked together to earn sponsors, create resumes, and gain credibility.
For pro Shelley Perry, having a teenager at home was wonderful. Perry and her husband Larry had been on the road for a decade. Shelley was taking home a win and top finishes on the now defunct WBFA trail.
The Perry’s also took their daughter April on tournament trips, allowing her to be a child, playing with toys, and reading books… and fishing only if she wanted.
This quality time resulted in a quality relationship. “A lot of parents are divorced…she saw the value of having both mom and dad around to talk to…she has always been open with us as far as we know.”
Time spent on the water together allowed April to see there were no secrets between her parents, “She felt it was easier to talk to both of us knowing that we would be talking to each other and she wouldn’t have to worry about one of us misinterpreting.”
Perry wanted to be there when her daughter had questions, not wanting her to get answers from someone who might give misinformation. “Talking about anything, one thing leads to another…and another door opens up for more conversation.”
These moms cherish the memories of raising their families on the water and on the road – and building a bond that transcended traditional motherhood by spending quality time in a quality environment.
Kids grow up too fast! So slow down, take them fishing, and make a cast towards a long-lasting, solid relationship.