We had a family reunion back in the O-H this past weekend. Having not seen some folks in about ten years, it was really a special time. Turns out the host family has a small pond on their property. My pops and I conducted some afternoon casting lessons, introducing the extended family to the finer side of fishing. Once evening rolled around, the pond was all ours. We took a couple of laps throwing first poppers, then streamers (kreelex, bugger). I landed my first ‘cat on a fly rod, a decent 3 pounder, thanks to ye ole reliable wooly bugger. The catfish was upset to be a part of my milestone, making a couple of bursts that had me double checking my drag. But what I remember the most vividly is catching myself holding my breath each time I landed a popper snug to the shoreline. To put this in perspective, the pond was less than a half acre, still muddy from recent rains and continual daylong swimming sessions by the troop of kids. The bass we were getting were about 8 inches, barely larger than your hand. And yet I found myself holding my breath, anticipating a splashy attack on each good cast. This is how it started 15+ years ago, throwing poppers with a stiff 7 wt for small largemouth, learning the sport next to my dad on suburban Ohio lakes and farm ponds. So what started as curiosity and sport is now, well… sickness? Obsession? Let’s just call it a passion… and keep praying for my wife.