My Dad was a fisherman. Not the aggressive, always looking for a bigger catch type that I am, but a fisherman none-the-less.
My old man was just as happy jerking perch with a cane pole as landing a five-pound largemouth on expensive tackle.
Actually, I believe he preferred blue gill fishing above all others.
When I was a little kid, I can't remember him going fishing without me. At the time I didn't think much about it, but by the time I was an adult I knew he had given me perhaps the greatest gift he could have. I have such happy memories of fishing the Louisiana swamp as a kid and in each of those memories my pop is right there. He was taken by cancer in 1986 at age 70. Much too young. I have missed him every day since.
In his later years, my mom was usually his fishing partner since I was too busy trying to raise a family a lot of the time. My mistake. The love for the outdoors he instilled in me has guided much of my life.
If you are lucky enough to still have your father this weekend why not take him fishing?
If you have children to bring along, so much the better. Most of the dads who are now a little too old to begin a fishing trip on their own still have the desire in their hearts. It need not be a big deal. Maybe a couple chairs on a nearby pier or sitting beneath a shade tree on the bank of a pond. Even if he catches nothing, he will enjoy the fresh air and the squeals of the children each time a bobber moves.
A good pace to begin your trip would be in your local tackle store. If your dad is up there in years, he may not have been inside a modern, fully stocked tackle shop in many years. The new lures, rods and reels, and boating electronics may be as foreign to your dad as it is to your kids. These days a good tackle shop carries equipment for the inshore, offshore and the fresh water. There are lots to see.
If you can get the old man and the kids into the boat, you are bound to have a great time. Let the kids and your dad take turns piloting as you rig the lines for trolling. Assign each of your crew a line and slow troll the river as you enjoy the sightseeing and the good company. That is a satisfying kind of fun.
Before my mom died in 1992, I had the good sense to take her and her sister trolling in Lake Monroe just east of the Interstate 4 bridge. I had found a school of small sunshine bass that were very aggressive. As the fish hit, the two ladies laughed together as they probably had not since they were young girls back in South Carolina. That was a good memory for me and I'm sure for them as well.
My dad would have been proud of me on that day.
My own son was only three when my dad passed away. I have always regretted he never had the chance to share a boat with my pop.
Don't miss the chance to get your own kids fishing with your dad. If he is already; gone look around, there is probably an older gentleman in your neighborhood who would love to do a little fishing. You can't lose by taking someone fishing. Our sport is so much more than meat on the table and the thrill of a hard pull on the line. It is being one with nature and at the same time sharing with the people you love. Each time I am out on the water on a beautiful morning my spirits soar. There is no feeling like it. Thank you dad.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.