Family Togetherness


This past weekend the entire Robbins family celebrated my father’s 75th birthday by gathering at my parents’ house, eating food from his favorite restaurant and playing a spirited game of “Jeopardy” in which every question was about him. Miraculously, no one was decapitated or excommunicated from the family.

It got me thinking about my next big birthday, the 50th, which (assuming I’m not run over by a bus or killed by some woman’s jealous husband) will take place in February of 2020. I’m not a big “birthday guy.” I don’t really remember 30, and at 40 I was surprised with a great party, but most of the time I don’t do much to make the day special. I spent several of them in a boat, covering the Bassmaster Classic, and of those 45 was most memorable because Kevin Short got the crowd to wish me a happy birthday during his valuable stage time.

But 50 seems like kind of a big deal.

I mean, at 50, you’re almost certainly running on the downhill slope of things.

Time has become more valuable. You don’t necessarily want to buy green bananas, and you might not qualify for a 30 year mortgage. A colonoscopy is likely in your immediate future.

So recognizing all of that, and also that my father and brother and I will have limited time together in the future, I’d like them to join me for a low key celebration of the things that I like – and that likely means some sort of fishing trip. The only problem? Neither of them really cares about fishing.

The one and only time that my father and I took a long distance, multi-day fishing trip together was when we went to Costa Rica for four days after I took the bar exam in the summer of 1995. As you can see from the picture above, not only was I 30 pounds lighter, but my hair was darker and there was more of it. We had a great time together, but for him it wasn’t really about the fishing. The first morning I landed a marlin, and then a sailfish, and then he took the rod for the next sail. When that task was completed, he was happy to go back to eating and drinking and reading a book. He might’ve reeled in a couple of mahi after that, but overall he was chill to sit and watch.

My brother is likewise not an ardent angler. He and his best friend joined me at El Salto a couple of Januarys ago, and while I know they liked it, I think that both could die reasonably happy if they never went back. On the last afternoon they were struggling so much with their casting that they sat down in the chairs, drank Pacificos and started flinging ¾ ounce spinnerbaits wildly on their spinning gear. Each landed an 8+ pounder in this haphazard style, and while they were thrilled at the time, I don’t quite think they realized quite how rare that is for the average weekend angler.

So maybe I’m a jerk to want to convene them for a fishing trip. Maybe we’d do better with a simple dinner, or something else, but I want them to meet me in my world a bit. It can’t be anything too gear intensive or skill intensive, because I know they’re not up to the task of doing something like ripping a woodchopper for Amazon peacocks. It also has to be relatively accessible.

I was thinking maybe three days in Guatemala, where the sailfish are plentiful, but even that may be a bit too far and a bit too exotic for their fishing tastes, so right now I’m pretty sure it’ll be yellowfin tuna in Venice, Louisiana. They may not give a damn about the sport, but those two can eat the hell out of some sashimi, so if all goes well we’ll all go home satisfied.

If any of you have better suggestions that might fit the bill, by all means let me know.