Pass it on

Published 9:13 am Monday, June 18, 2012

As a child I was fortunate enough to have a father that enjoyed and shared his love for the great outdoors with me. My father was an avid fisherman and he mentored me to become a fairly good outdoorsman.

My father was the best bass fisherman I’ve ever known. Although he never got into the fishing tournament scene, he was always was out there pounding the lake. He was so far ahead of the curve, especially with some of the techniques he used.

The first time he ever exhibited a new worm rig that he had been experimenting with, I wasn’t all that confident it would work.  He proved it to me out on the lake that day. He was catching two to my one fish and it wasn’t long before I was a believer.  What he demonstrated to me that day was the first version ever of a rig that has infamously known as the” Carolina Rig”. Keep in mind that this was back in the 60’s and no one had ever heard of a Carolina Rig, at least not in South Georgia.

He took a Texas Rigged plastic worm and pegged the lead with a tooth pick and made a leader about two to three feet above the worm. He envisioned the lead going to the bottom and the worm float suspended above it.  Now the Carolina Rig is about as common as a cold in the bass fishing world.

One his other of his crazy concepts was hooking a plastic worm in the middle instead of the head. I thought the “old man” was losing it when he presented this rig to me.  Now bass pros commonly use this technique and it’s known in the industry as a “wacky rig.”

He also revealed to me fishing a plastic worm Texas rigged without any lead; the weightless worm skimmed as across the top of the water simulating a small snake. It would swim across Lilly pads, grass and it was especially deadly when pitch under trees over hanging the water. This presentation is now known as “The Floating Rig.”

As Father’s Day approaches I have fond memories of my dad, the times we shared on the water and in the outdoors. I can still remember the very first time he turned the controls of driving the boat to me. It was of the most exciting days of my life. He shared the knowledge that was passed down from his father and passed it down to me.  As my kids were growing up I felt a responsibility to pass it on to them.

I know I have passed those genes down to my children because just as my father taught me to fish, I have taught my children. I shared with them all the secrets he passed down to me and his love and respect the outdoors.  I too spent many, many weekends with my family in the outdoors fishing, boating and camping…times that I’ll never forget and adventures I know they’ll never forget. My hope is that one day as they become parents they will pass it on once again.

Joe Cowart is Publisher of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7218.