As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time fishing with my dad lately. It’s been great. We used to fish together as often as we could, usually dependent on things like how much time we had or who’s place we were at, the typical things. These were always few and far between, though, since he lived on one side of the country and I was on the other.
All of that changed about a year ago, however, when my folks moved out west and settled down about a half hour away. We go out as often as possible now, assuming he’s not off at work, and it’s interesting watching someone else go through exactly what I went through when I first moved here. Adjusting to the fishing out here takes a bit of time and the temptation is to just carry on with the way you’re used to doing them, which only works in some situations, but that’s another thing altogether. Besides all that, it’s been fun to show my dad the fishing out here. He’s used to fishing for things like walleye, since he runs a walleye camp, and to a lesser degree things like pike and bass, so being able to take my dad around and show him what a rainbow trout fishery can be like has been a blast.
As tends to happen, most of the time I’ve taken him out the bite has been off. I find that whenever you take someone to a spot you swear is full of fish, they don’t bite, but even that hasn’t put much of a damper on things. It’s just nice to get out together.
For the longest time, fishing was about the only thing my dad and I had in common. He was a truck driver and was often busy building or fixing things, something that I, as a quiet little bookworm, couldn’t quite wrap my head around it–and still can’t, really, although I’ve come to learn that some of the stuff that he would do really wasn’t all that hard. There was fishing. I still vividly remember being taught to cast by my dad. I remember him showing me, followed by attempting the same thing. It was a fairly success first cast, but
only insomuch as I was successful at catching my dad in the back with the lure (some kind of spinner that almost definitely had a barbed treble hook). I like to joke that the day I learned how to fish was also the day I learned how to swear, although he denies swearing. I took to fishing almost immediately as a kid and would often spend hours patiently waiting for the fish to bite, even if it meant standing in the rain that whole time.
Although it would take more than 30 years for it to really sink in, fishing eventually became a rather large part of my life and it wasn’t until that happened that I realized the strength of the bond that had formed between my dad and I because of it. More important than that, though, was the realization that out of all the things that were things that my dad did–fix stuff, build things, etc.–fishing was the only one that I showed any real interest in as a kid, the one thing he was able to show me how to do (or maybe the one thing I actually listened to him about), was the one thing that really managed to have an impact on my life–the tie in to that is my love of exploring also came from him, since fishing and exploring usually go hand in hand. Coming to this realization was a bit of a surprise, since I had always kind of thought that the only thing I’d picked up from my dad along the way was a love of solitude, with family around, and a slightly grouchy
disposition. It was a great moment and it made me wish I’d been able to show more of an interest in some of the more useful tasks, like fixing cars, but I’m not going to get too upset about that. It really goes to show you that fishing is one of those things that bring a family together, even if it came be a very solitary activity most of the time. I love having my family with me when I’m out in the water. There’s less fishing than there would be if it was just me, but the trips are almost more memorable.
As much as I’d love to be able to take my dad out fishing this father’s day, he spends his summers managing a fishing lodge in Northern Ontario, so I won’t be able to fish with him until they’re back. Anyone who gets the chance, however, should get out there. Here in B.C. there is a free family fishing day, meaning you don’t have to have a license to fish, and there are events happens everywhere to encourage people to get out and fish as a family. Even if, like me, you can’t make it out fishing, it can’t hurt to take your kids out every once in a while. It might not be something that clicks right away, but you never know when something like that will be the thing they remember most fondly about childhood.