The morning dawned hot and muggy, another typical summertime day in Kemper County, as my father drove us through the old cow pasture towards Goat Mosley’s pond. My dad, Jack Giles, and grandfather Vernon were taking me on an adventure. I vividly remember stopping at Snowden’s Minnow Farm first, at the crack of dawn. Barely six years old, I was enamored and excited by the older gentlemen who “caught” minnows for us out of deep concrete vats.
In those days going fishing meant buying or catching your bait first and then heading to the water to fish. Though we didn’t catch our bait when I was very young, the prospect of going to the Snowden minnow farm was an exciting and important part of our trips.
I don’t remember a lot of details about the trip, but I do remember that I was very excited to go fishing.
We fished along the dam of the lake and I was having a great time playing and enjoying the outdoors while my minnow did the work. All three of us used cork rigs that allowed the minnows the freedom to swim around just below the surface, to hopefully entice bass into biting.
At some point I looked up and realized that my rod and reel combo was being pulled out into the lake. The rig was small and basically a toy that floated on the surface. If it hadn’t floated, it would have been lost forever, because the bass that engulfed the minnow was rapidly pulling it towards the deep water.
I don’t know who spotted it first, but I was really upset at the prospects of losing my rod and reel and what was on the other end. Dad quickly found a long stick and reached way out and brought the rod and reel back to my eager hands on shore.
As soon as I got the rod in hand the fight began. Something was pulling and tugging on the other end of the line and my excitement was unparalleled. Back and forth we battled until that fish finally got the best of me and hooked me right between the eyes! Yes, before I knew it he had put a big hook in me.
I did land the feisty yearling bass and made a lifelong memory in the process. I don’t remember much about the rest of the trip, but I do know exactly when and where I caught my first bass! Yes, I was with my grandfather, Vernon Giles, and dad, Jack Giles, when that first bass got me hooked on fishing, which made it very special.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime! Though that fishing trip was probably routine for my mentors, it was a life changing experience for me. It became the first step of a journey that would eventually take me to many places around the country fishing and even hunting.
The passion born in me that morning lit a flame of desire that changed me forever. Throughout my early years my passion for fishing never waned. And yes there were ball games, swimming, school, and many other activities. None rivaled my passion for fishing however.
When I got through with my game, or chores, my thoughts turned towards fishing. And in those days it didn’t matter if I caught a bass, bream, perch, or catfish, I just wanted to fish.
Later on my passion gravitated towards bass, both largemouth and striped bass, and we caught them by the thousands on trips to Ross Barnett Reservoir and lakes far and wide from the Tombigbee River to Toledo Bend!
Though I’ve competed and won many bass tournaments I fish for fun now, just like in the good ole days. I’ve also been fortunate to guide others on fishing trips and spread the passion.
Some may say that I’m living the dream and I have lived a life rich in our southern outdoors heritage and have enjoyed a lifetime of happy fishing experiences with family and friends alike. And it all started on the bank of a small pond in Kemper County. Thanks for taking me fishing dad. I’ve never been the same since!
Contact Mike Giles at
601-917-3898 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org