How He Got Started
Cash was introduced to fishing at approximately age 5 when I took him to a local Carlsbad pond to catch some blue gill. I handed him my bass rod with a Texas rigged plastic worm on it and asked him to hold it while I baited up a live worm on a small hook for a blue gill. Before I could finish setting up his pole he yelled “I got one!”, and proceeded to reel in a large mouth bass. I knew at this point he had the touch or just some really good luck. We didn’t start fishing regularly until he was about 9 years old.
I have always encouraged Cash to do what he loves to do. I have tried really hard not to shoe horn him into my interests or push him to do sports or activities that he didn’t want to. We had been on a bike riding tear for some time and we hit just about every skate park and bike track I knew of.
One Saturday instead of taking off on another bike adventure I asked Cash if he could choose anything he wanted to do that day, what would it be? He said he wanted to go fishing. This lead us to yet another local blue gill spot where he proceeded to catch about 30 blue gill! He was so stoked on fishing that he continues to ask to go fishing. After catching countless blue gill he said he wanted to catch something bigger.
Our next stop was at an old hole I used to catch bass and catfish at. While he sat on a bench eating his lunch we casted out a hot dog and dropped his zebco push button on an ugly stick in a rod holder. His rod taco-ed over while he ate his lunch and it didn’t even alarm him. I screamed “ Dude! Grab your rod! You got one!”. He replied in a completely casual manor “I am eating my chips”. I sprung up and handed him the rod. This turned into an epic fight and we landed a 33” channel cat that was approx. 11-12 lbs.
That was it. After that we explored every spit of fresh water from San Diego to Riverside county that we could find. He really took to large mouth bass fishing and had a great success in catching fish. I found myself telling him that we won’t always catch fish like when we started, but the catching just continued. I noticed he really had a talent for fishing.
First Hookup Bait Experience
We visited all my old holes and even hit the Carlsbad lagoon where his first salt catch was a White Sea Bass. A good friend of mine told me that we needed to hit Shelter Island in San Diego Bay if we wanted to get on a good salt water bite. We did just that and we ran into a kid named Woods that gave Cash his first 1/4 oz red crab Hookup Bait. We hopped some docks with him and caught spotties and sandies. Cash was so stoked on the HUB and the catches he was consistently making on it that we had to find some more. We picked up some packs at Dana Landing in Mission Bay and continued the catching.
Journey with Hookup Baits
Cash caught wind of the #gromofthemonth program that Hookup Baits was running. He tagged all his catches to earn a chance to win a trip out on the HUB boat with owner Chad Gierlich. He tried tirelessly to win, but came up short time and time again. I told him that if it was worth winning, then it was worth it to keep trying. During this process Cash was having great success in catching spotties like I had never seen. He proceeded to announce his catches on his Instagram story (#1 on the Hookup Bait).
October 2018 was the first Hookup Baits Tournament. We got in touch with a new friend of ours Alec AKA @fishingmissionbay and we all entered the tourney together in his sail boat the “Ol Skiff”. He put us on fish all day but we struggled to catch the legals we needed. We had a great time but figured we bombed. Cash did the best out of the 3 of us. To Cash’s surprise he won 3rd place in the grom division. His reaction was electric to say the least. You would have thought he won the entire tourney. His “ I have to call my mom!” comment melted everyone’s hearts. In a field of anglers that had been up since 2 am-4 am it was a great recharge. The deal only got sweeter when Chad announced that Cash won grom of the month.
Grom of the Month Trip
The grom trip was unbelievable. Chad put us on the fish and Cash caught PB Calico, Sand Bass, Sheep Head, Bonito, and numerous rock fish. It was our best day of fishing to say the least. Chad was so cool to us and his wife JoJo provided the best lunch you could imagine. After that trip it was infectious how giving and supportive they were. We spread the word to everyone we ran into and shared the baits with all the anglers we interacted with.
On the grom trip, Chad told us about the Open Bay Bass tourney that the San Diego Anglers Club puts on and the Salt Water Bass Series that Gerry Mahieu puts on. He encouraged us to join the San Diego Anglers Club and do the Salt Water Bass Series. We didn’t own a boat but wanted to participate badly. We tried to get our little tin boat running but the series was approaching quickly. I was desperate and threw out a Hail Mary on Instagram. I asked if anyone had any resources for boat rentals. Ryan from @slaydaysocal answered my call and went outside of his normal operating area to get us the self guided rental we needed. We did the first 2 events on Slay Day rentals and had a blast. Before the season was over we acquired access to an old bass boat and continued to complete the series. We fished the Long Beach Break Wall, The Horseshoe Kelp, Palos Verde, and Izor’s for the first time during the series. I had never captained a boat outside of the bay until the shot gun start at the Long Beach event. We competed in all events and leaned an unbelievable amount in those 5 events. The HUB team supported us with advice and camaraderie the entire way through. All the Pros and Rookie teams were awesome to us as well. We didn’t make the Championship by 5 spots due to some poor scores on the first few events. All in all the series was a win. We came out and fished/ volunteered for the Championships. We made so many friends and Gerry even hooked us up with a trolling motor for the boat. View the trip recap + photos here!
Cash has become a very serious angler. Hookup Baits signed him up as a Youth Ambassador in April 2019. I am extremely proud to say the least of the young man he has become. We owe so much to the awesome fishing community, our HUB family, and immediate family. It seems that when ever we have needed a hand there was one extended in our direction and helped us navigate the waters.
Much Love for HUBs
Cash recently placed 1st in the youth division of the Angler Clothing Company Spotted Bay Bass Tournament at Shelter Island on June 22nd 2019. It was kind of a full circle back to where we discovered HUBs. All the fish he caught were on HUBs and I couldn’t be prouder of him and the Ambassador that he has become. He is very caring and supportive of the young anglers around him as well as holding his own with us old salty dogs.
Fishing is so much more than an activity or hobby to us. It is a platform where we can experience life lessons, a level playing field where we can speak openly about our life, and feelings. I am a better parent because of the time we get to share. I am truly grateful for every moment of it.
Check out some of the pics below of the tourney and our adventures I described above. The sequence is the same time line as above.
– Tom Troop (Cash’s Dad)