Maybe it’s COVID, maybe it is because it’s the middle of winter and I’m chomping at the bit to go fishing…I’m not sure. But I find myself deep in contemplation lately, reminiscing if you will.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my Dad. He was the driving force who got me into fishing…whether I liked it or not. In some ways I think he just needed a “first mate” to handle all of the little things on the boat that needed doing. But in other ways I could tell he enjoyed it tremendously and wanted to open up that world to me. I’m glad he did.
I remember the hours of casting practice in the front yard. Casting a hookless plug into a 5 gallon bucket until I could do it 10 times in a row. No mean feat when using a Zebco 33 on a limp noodle rod. I remember being woken up at 3am and handed a cold glass of milk and told to drink it. Standing like a zombie in the kitchen making cheese and mayonnaise sandwiches for the day. That’s ALL we ate while fishing. Throw in a Mason jar of iced tea and one of water and we were on our way.
I remember my Dad up front in the boat, casting away with his brand new Shimano Calcutta while I’m in the back with a squeaky 33 performing surgery on it just to keep it running, hoping one day for an upgrade to something better. The Oklahoma heat was so bad that it would melt whatever glue they attached the rubber grip to the rod with. Sometimes I really thought about just casting it over the side and being done with it once and for all. Maybe then I could get an upgrade.
I remember swearing in front of my father for the first time. I had hooked a monster bass off of a rocky point and it was too much for me to handle. I handed him the rod and the beast spit the hook. That swear word is still echoing across the lake. And I knew I was DEAD! Nope, he said “that was a really nice fish”, ignored my faux pas, and went straight back to fishing. That was my Dad at his finest…all business. Years later on a trip to Canada, we were sitting around the fire late in the evening and that moment came up. He professed such deep sorrow for losing that fish…he had carried that guilt for decades. A good man right there.
We fished together for years and I loved every minute of it. Wish we could still fish together in fact. But he lives in Canada and I’m here in Oklahoma. Age has taken his ability to fish but his mind is sharp as ever. Life happens.
Anyway, I’ll raise my glass and thank him…Love You Pop!