The Hank Days

Let's get out there and spend a bit more time in commune with the water, just like back in the Hank days.

The late '80s and early '90s are etched vividly in my memory. Back then, anyone who called themselves an angler gathered on the weekends to fish any number of local tournaments. These competitions routinely drew upward of 200 fishermen who'd spend eight hours getting horribly sun burned, while sampling the water for five fatties plump enough to earn us bragging rights as Best on the Water.

That You Hank? Back then, I remember watching an early Hank Parker fishing show. Parker was a two-time Bassmaster Classic champion and early fishing TV pioneer. In typical Hank fashion, he seemed to catch fish on every cast. As he did, he expounded on his "Hank how-to." Well, all of sudden, like a lightning bolt on a clear day, a phone rings.

Well, Hank excuses himself from the camera and awkwardly rolls out this biggie-sized satchel with a lunkerized cell phone parked inside (it was so big it cast a shadow which engulfed his entire Ranger rig). My jaw dropped and I immediately snapped to attention in my ratty-brown, rattan recliner proclaiming aloud, "How cool is that!"

Technology Rulz. Well, now everyone owns a cell phone and a small limit of computers. This must-have technology, which once promised to simplify our lives, has done anything but. Back in the Hank days, I could've never imagined having a cell phone cemented to my ear 24/7 and staring at three diagonally-blessed flat-screen monitors, ad nauseam as I now do.

Fast Forward. Recently, about 90 weekenders gathered for the 1st Annual Speckled Trout Shootout in Biloxi, Mississippi. These fishing folks threw in a few bucks hoping to earn bragging rights as the ultimate "trout master" for the weekend. While the fishing left a bit to be desired (winning three-trout limit weight was ~8.5 pounds), the fishermen had plenty of fun and shared some hearty laughs at the weigh-in.

An Epiphany. While shooting pictures I thought how great it felt to be back in the game. Spending time with others who share the same interests and passion as mine. It made me think, maybe I should let the cell phone go dead and shut-down my central computer bank. Yep, get out there and spend a bit more time in commune with the water, just like I did back in the Hank days.