Catching Memories... and maybe a little buzz.

Whether you start your fishing day off with a cup of coffee or a whiskey ginger ale like my friend Joel, the real pick me up is the anticipation in our "mental mug". Will this be the day you catch a trophy or will it be a day you go home with a participation certificate? The only way to tell is to get out there and go fishing! 

To help me understand the "mental mug" of the fisherman, I thought I would start writing angler profiles to see what makes us tick (in a clock kind of way not the Lyme disease way). Below is my first interview with Joel "Style" Bonilla, the most fashionable fisherman on the water as well as a good friend of mine.    
Angler Profile:

Name: Joel Bonilla  
Age: 27
Where are you from: Los Angeles
Occupation: Environmental Planner

1) How did you get started fishing? How long have you been fishing?
I got my start during my adolescent years, back around 1991. Back then, fishing was just something my folks would do during our yearly vacation trips to the San Gabriel Mountains. My brother and I shared a “snoopy catch ‘em kit fishing rod”. I really wasn’t consistent until this year (2012). I think it’s difficult for a child to pick up fishing. Fishing requires patience, basic knowledge of the environment and money.

2) Do you remember your first fish? How did it make you feel? Species, size?
My first catch happened at Castaic Lake, where I caught a one pound, largemouth bass.

My buddies and I were fishing from a boat in Castaic Lake. The entire day went by without success. I had nibbles here and there, a big one that got away, and ducks trying to eat my bait. It was a warm sunny day in the high 80s during the month of April. The wind was really picking up that day so we had to stay in the cove where the wave action and winds were calm. While boating around we found a shallow cove with lots of shade. The fish seemed to like hiding under the floating algae mats.

3) How much did your biggest fish weigh? What did you catch it on?
My only catch was a one pound, largemouth bass. I caught it with a crankbait. I was really careful not to get my line tangled in the dead vegetation. Things that didn’t work were my Texas rig senko and spinner bait. Additionally, my knots need some work since I lost a fish after my line snapped at the knot.

4) Fondest memory you have from fishing?
My fondest memory came while fishing at Big Creek in the Sierra National Forest with my old college friends. I fished for hours and never felt more at ease. I caught two crayfish and broke my friend’s fishing rod after getting the line tangled in a tree, Laugh!!

5) Why do you fish?
As described in my fondest fishing memory; fishing, for me is less about the fish, and more about the time spent with family and friends.
I’ve been told by experienced anglers that I have my entire life to become proficient at fishing. I’ve been told that over time, I will collect tons of gear and would have invested a lot of money and time into the sport. I see myself becoming engaged in the sport with every outing and have no doubt about what I’ve been told by my wiser colleagues. So for now, when I cast my line out into the water, I fish to enjoy the moment.

7) Any pre-fishing rituals, food you like to eat on the water?
I enjoy a ginger-ale and whiskey drink early in the morning, before my first cast.   

Joel's "mental mug" provided me with some great insight. He lives for the moment and is more concerned with catching memories than fish. If he sticks with it, his memories will start to include more fish to go along with time spent with loved ones and the expensive gear that accumulates. That is of course, he can remember them at all, considering he is woofing down whiskey and ginger-ales at 6 am. Take it easy on the sauce buddy, the only thing you're going to catch is a hangover, and that's not something you can mount above your fireplace!

Skyman out