FIRST FISHING TALES
TATE: My dad was a fisherman, and we would go to a lake in Tennessee with a box of worms or crickets and fish for blue gill, crappie, sunfish, or catfish. If they were big enough, we would cook them and have a fish fry. It started when I was five or six. After school on a Friday, my family would pick me up. The poles would already be hanging out the window, and we'd get a Happy Meal from McDonald's and go straight to the lake. That's if I had all happy faces on my weekly report at school.
ROBISON: By the time I was five or six I started realizing I was in love with it. My dad used to take me to the pond out back of our house in Texas, and I'd fish the ponds around the neighborhood or the creek at the bottom of the road. I loved everything about fishing.
THE EWWWW FACTOR
TATE: The first few times touching crickets were a bit weird, and the worms were slimy. I went fishing so much that I just dealt with it. One time we had leftover crickets, and I knocked the container over. We had crickets all over the house for several days. My mom wasn't very happy because it happened near the kitchen. Oops.
ROBISON: The worms freaked me out a little bit at first. But once I got used to them, it was pretty much downhill for the worms.
TATE: Two years ago I caught a marlin or a swordfish that was close to 4½ feet long while I was in Mexico. My forearms were burning. It was a constant fight for about 20 to 25 minutes.
ROBISON: A 90-inch sailfish, while on vacation in Mexico two or three years ago. We measured it and threw it back.
JOY OF FISHING
TATE: I was always going to school and playing baseball, basketball, and football. Fishing was a way for me to slow everything down and put what I was doing in perspective as far as what I wanted to accomplish. I did a lot of daydreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up. You have to practice patience and enjoy life.
ROBISON: For kids, it's important to keep it simple. My three-year-old daughter, Madelyn, just caught her first fish all on her own. Just take a little plastic bait, put it on a hook, throw it out, and reel it back real slow.
Photos: Nancy Andrews for Sports Illustrated (Tate), courtesy of Brian Robison (Robison)