Pass on the Tradition

By Tom Keer

Dec 28, 2016

Memories and strong bonds are created by spending time fishing with family and friends.

The holidays are often a time for reflection. When I remember my 2016 fishing season I think about many other years, too. People and places come to mind as often as species caught and lost. Ultimately everything blends together, for time I spend fishing with family and friends is gift of tremendous value.

I remember being sour when I picked up my hard-core fishing friend Sgt. Major Tim Didas. He was on leave from his second deployments in the Middle East. I scouted hard, very hard, for three weeks prior to his visit. Simply put, the fishing was horrible. Yet by the time we strung up our rods and hit the suds it was on! We had hot surface action with a fish-per-cast for three hours. We laughed all the way to the airport and said good bye for another year. I didn't care that the fishing fell off the very next day.

An oddity was fly fishing with my friend Jeff Doyle. We drifted over a ledge that looked perfect for a big striper. His rod bent and he was tight to a fish. Imagine my surprise when I boated his fish: a cod. Cod are normally caught at depths over 200 feet on conventional tackle and clams. Later I learned there was a resident population that frequented the shallows, and we found 'em.

I remember our last family trip this summer. My daughter Morgan was heading off to college, and my wife and I took her fishing. The water was slick, the sun was high, and I figured we wouldn't see a single fish. But there they were on the backside of the island in skinny water. We caught 'em up and Morgan left a few days later.

Most of my fondest memories involve fishing. They are about spending time with people I care about doing what I love to do. It's about sharing techniques and tackle with new anglers and learning from those who know more than me. Fishing is far more connecting than many other activities. Free time might be difficult to find in 2017 so be sure to carve out enough with your family and friends. See you on the water.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at