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Geoff Patterson knows well the old adage, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.” In this week’s submission, he talks about realizing it.

I’m from Oklahoma, born and bred, but I’ve lived in Arizona since May of 2012. Life in the Grand Canyon State has been great; I found my sobriety and true happiness here, but something’s always been missing. That something is fishing.

I grew up with great fishing lakes just an hour’s drive from my childhood home, lakes like Keystone, Skiatook, Oologah, Fort Gibson, and especially Grand. I caught my first fish at the tender age of two and haven’t been the same since. Growing up, my dad and I fished three or four times a month, and we had the luxury of having a professional outdoorsman in the family who was just a phone call away. My uncle always had the latest fishing intel. That made things so easy that going fishing usually meant going catching! When I got my driver’s license, I’d hop in my car with a pole at least twice a week, pick up my cousin or one of my friends, and head out to see what we could stir up. Those were truly some of the best times of my life.

My heart has seriously ached for fishing in Oklahoma again. As my sobriety has progressed, I’ve been able to make trips home more frequently and every time I do, fishing is on the agenda. At home visiting family for the recent COVID-19 quarantine, I was able to go fishing a half dozen times, mostly at the dock at my family’s lake house. I’ve been fishing that dock for thirty-five years. We limited out on crappie the last three times we fished, and that final trip was one of the best outings I’ve ever had on the water. I caught my limit in the first half hour and then culled anything that measured under a foot for the rest of the day. I hadn’t caught any really big crappie yet on my quarantine trip but I went out with a bang that day. There wasn’t a fish in my basket under 13” and two of them stretched the tape to 16”! I can only remember landing one bigger in all my years of fishing, and that crappie weighed close to four pounds.

I’ll be moving back to Oklahoma with my toddler this August. My twelve year old son lives there, as does the rest of my family. As excited as I am to be a part of the family again after eight years, I’m just as excited to get back to fishing. My boys have been to our cabin at Grand Lake and they’re already displaying symptoms of crappie fever. Fishing in Oklahoma is special, and I can’t wait for more adventures with my family. God is good!

Do you have a story to share? Type up the details of your hunt, and shoot me an email at wrightoutdoors@yahoo.com. Include a picture or two. I’ll make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed and publish on this website the story of your hunt for all the world to see. All I ask is that you then share a link to your story with your family and friends and maybe interact with those who might have questions or comments. Because stories are meant to be shared. And hunts are meant to be celebrated.

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