Dr. Ben Adams can’t recall what age he began fishing.
“I just remember being outside, enjoying the sun and the weather and just having fun while spending time with my family,” he shares. “And that’s kind of the same way I look at it today.”
As a child, the Prairieville native spent summers fishing with his grandfather, who lived along a river, and relished countless more days angling with his father and other grandfather. For Ben, Louisiana’s favorite pastime is something he always knew, and he understood he would pass on the family tradition when he got older.
Twelve years ago, after a fellowship at Ochsner in New Orleans, the anesthesiologist settled in Houma to practice at Terrebonne General, and not too long after, Cooper was born.
Cooper, like his father, took a liking to fishing at a very young age, with pictures of him at 18 months old with a rod in hand next to his dad.
Before the 11-year-old became the force on the water he is today, competing alongside Ben in fishing tournaments and steering a BlackJack 256 with ease, Cooper learned the ropes from his father.
Ben says safety is always the top priority when teaching his son. “I fished with him so much when he was little. Every time we’d go out in the marsh, I would quiz him: what bayou is this, what lake is this, whose camp is this,” he remembers.
“If I fall down and hit my head out there fishing, he can get me back, no questions asked — GPS or not,” he continues. “So, I needed him to understand how to handle the boat and be safe about it and know his way around. We started from a very young age teaching all of those things.”
Today, Cooper navigates the waters with confidence many other boaters wouldn’t have until much later in life. The two recall a time at a packed boat launch in Ascension Parish, where onlookers watched a man struggle to bring his boat in, and without meaning to, the young angler showed him up in front of the crowd.
“He was struggling for like 20 minutes,” Cooper remembers. “And I get up there and just nail it in one shot. And everyone’s just yelling.”
As Cooper grew older and became more familiar with the sport, from fishing in areas around the Bayou Region to the Florida Keys, he kept asking his father to join him in competitions. But, Ben was hesitant at first.
“I was begging him until I was like 9, then he was like, ‘okay, whatever,’” Cooper laughs.