Guest contributor Matt O’Connor

Posted: May 27, 2014 by Hellcat in Fish Reports, Gear Fishing, Salmon, Trout & Steelhead
Tags: , ,

Matt O’Connor lives in Portland, Oregon and is a proud husband, father and rapidly growing river angler. Please welcome him with his first contribution to AAA.

Flash and Stash

Having recently gone on a coaching trip with Mr. Heller here at AAA, I took the boys to the tackle shop to pick up some gear to tighten up and expand on my new float game knowledge. Now in the last few years I have found that going into a toy store or a sporting goods store with two boys is surprisingly similar. Both provide endless opportunities for unmet expectations and potential behavioral wrangling. Usually, my guys are pretty good. Typically, I only have to remind them once or twice not to touch the rods and nets, leave the lead alone, stay out of the fly bins and not pull stuff off the shelf, unless I’ve given them a “job”, or unless they ask.

I remember as a kid being stoked to go with my dad to stores like REI and Larry’s Sporting Goods for gear. In many ways it was better than the toy store. It was like getting to be admitted into the explorers club. It meant adventure, and that was even better. Most of the time I had no clue what we were getting when we went. Half the time I did’nt care and the other half of the time when I did have an interest, my dad would be gruff and irritable about my asking, sending me right back to not caring again. The not caring was where the fun began. Looking at gear I wanted, gear I had no idea about, and then there were knives, guns and animal heads. What boy would’nt find that cool. As an adult with some distance and two kids of my own now, I have perspective now on the whole irritability part. As much excitement as you might have for the trip ahead, planning the logistics of a trip of any kind is work. Sometimes you want to just get in and out.

When we arrived at the store we had about 25 minutes till closing time, not my best idea that night, particularly since I had not been to this particular location, so I had to ask for where everything was at. Knowing we were short on time I put the boys to work. The 7 yr old was to supervise the 3 1/2 yr old and make sure they kept up. The 3 1/2 yr olds job was to carry the basket. They did a pretty good job even if they were not always on the same aisle as I was, nothing fell over, no hooks embededd in bodies, no rods were harmed and everyone’s pride and sensibilities stayed intact.

It was not until we arrived home and I started going through the loot that I noticed there were some extra items I had not selected or intended to purchase in the bag. Several packages of spinner blades all with some orange on them were now in my posession. In a minor panic I quickly checked the receipt. Sure enough, I had paid for them. I had thought the total sounded a little high at the register, so that explained that. Now, who was the culprit?

This Guy

photo (11)

When asked why he put them in our basket without asking, he replied, “I wanted to get the best ones.” The sincerity and even authority with which he replied was simultaneously endearing in that way only a child can be kind of way, but it also spoke volumes to the serious desire to be a part of that big adventure being planned by dad. Could anyone be mad about that?

No matter what your theories are on what colors, movements etc, make fish strike, sometimes stuff is just pretty, even for 3 1/2yr olds. Apparently, this Guy likes orange and was dreaming of big fish. And the best part, we get to go back to the store with all that cool stuff again.

Matt O’Connor

  1. Rowdy says:

    Great article and welcome you and your boys to triple A. Hope this is the first of many trips with your boys! Shout out hellcat cause I know he helped those boys get addicted!!

  2. Chromehammer says:

    Good stuff 🙂 welcome aboard Matt!

  3. Sal says:

    Great story. Reminds me of the the first invite I got from my Dad to go bass fishing with him in the evening. Definitely felt like an invitation to join the explorer’s club. It is super that you are bringing your kids into the world of rivers and fishing. I would love to see more Mom’s and Dads do the same. Unfortunately there are lots of kids missing out. Sal

  4. M@O says:

    Thanks a bunch! I had fun writing it. The funny thing for me is that I got more serious/back into fishing because I was having /had kids. Granted most of my fishing does not include them, but increasingly more so.
    I’d love to contribute some more. In fact I just had the honor of getting to fish at a private fly fishing ranch over the Memorial Day weekend if Chris would like a little review.

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