Thanks for stopping by at Bunkybee! We encourage people to step boldly into pursuing their favorite recreational activities. When thinking of someone I would like to interview for the next Q&A session, it wasn't a tough one to come up with. My dad is my teacher, mentor, and hero in many ways, but in one way that really deserves to be detailed for the Recreation Nation- FISHING!
Ever since I can remember, my Dad has been fishing. Or waking me up really early for the best tides for fishing. Or teaching me to draw the only thing he likes to draw - fish. (He's still better at them than I am). And big bonus- catching lots of fish and cooking them up for us for dinner. Now I am lucky enough to have him share his passion for his pastime with my sons. He's pretty patient with us when we go out on the boat with him - even though he barely gets to fish himself, since he is so busy moving the boat, baiting or untangling lines, netting or unhooking fish, or teaching us the tricks of his trade.
A cool fact is that back in the 80's he designed a "Bass Finder" pocket guide, that you could take with you when fishing. It has a wheel selector, that would tell you what type of fishing lure to use in different conditions to catch bass. Now there's probably an app for that, but he was on to something early on! I still have a copy. Now he dabbles in making his own hand-painted fishing lures out of corks (from his other hobby- wine connoisseur).
His current favorite fishing locations to take us out on the boat are the back bay in Stone Harbor, NJ (where we also do some stellar crabbing), and in Englewood, FL and the surrounding intercoastal waters. Our family photo albums have a recurring theme – fish! (me with a big weakfish, and a big catch in Stone Harbor, back in the day.)
Q&A with master fisherman Jim Shonk (aka Dad/Baba)
Q: You are the best fisherman I know, and have been fishing, and teaching others the skills and tools of your favorite recreational activity, for as long as I can remember. Who taught you how to fish, when was the first time that you went fishing that you can remember, and where?
A: The first time I remember was at Killbuck Creek [in Holmes County, OH] fishing with cane poles for carp. I fished with a neighbor, Gene Henderson, who helped me some, and Butch Snyder, my best friend, who lived one house over from us .
Q: What’s a fishing memory that you think back on and it makes you smile?
A: My uncle Harvey, my father's sister's husband and I caught 32 fish on Odell's Lake, near Millersburg [OH]. I also smile when I think of you fishing patiently for hours on Candlewood lake trying to win a bike. I also smile when I think of you and Ganine catching blue gills on Lake Mamanasco [in Ridgefield, CT].
Q: What’s the most unexpected catch you have ever hooked?
A. A tarpon in Florida. With your mom driving the boat.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting out with fishing?
A. Talk with someone who knows about fishing, and read up on how to fish and the species you are going after. Go out with someone who knows what they are doing, and ask a lot of questions. Be patient and keep your line in the water.
Q: Aside from your boat, If you could pick one fishing tool, gadget, lure or accessory that you like the most what would it be?
A: A good rod and reel and a "sure thing" lure, which doesn’t exist.
Q: How many boats named "Pisces" have you had, and which was your favorite?
A. Eleven. I like my present boat but I also really liked the champion bass boat. They all served us well. Think for example how many weakfish we caught out of that 14 foot aluminum boat.
Q: What kind of fish do you like to catch? If you had to eat one kind of fish that you caught every day, what would it be?
A: I like to catch red fish and snook and fresh water bass and saltwater stripers. My favorite eating fish is pompano. Unfortunately I don’t catch them very often.
Thanks for the interview Dad, and I hope to go fishing with you soon!
To see our selection of freshwater game fish and saltwater game fish themed fishing t-shirts, please check www.bunkybee.com for men's women's and youth styles, in several assorted colors.