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A Fishing Father

Raising your children


I don’t remember many specific Father’s Days. As I remember it, they took a back seat to other holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day. Maybe it was a macho thing – who wants a holiday named for them?

But, it really didn’t matter that it took a back seat. It was still a special day and it still meant finding a gift for my dad. That task was harder than you might think, and it became harder as the years went by.

My dad was a fisherman. I don’t mean that he simply liked to fish. I mean – he was a fisherman. He ate, slept, dreamed, and talked about fishing. The most logical gift every year would be something in the fishing world.

Only, I had a problem with these gifts. I don’t know about your father, but my father never waited for someone to give him something. He was not one to hint around prior to a holiday in hopes of getting what he wanted as a gift. When he needed or wanted something, he bought it – right then and there.

There was no shopping. There was a tackle shop, and if it had what he wanted, he bought it. Men seem to be that way it seems to me. Except for maybe the Ebay phenomenon, men usually don’t shop; they buy. That was my dad.

Every year that goes by since we lost him makes me appreciate him more, and not for the obvious things, but for things I find myself doing that fall right into his footsteps. It amazes me the influence he had simply by his presence in my life.

Not many fishing trips went by as I was growing up that did not include me in the boat with him. He never really invited me to go with him; it was just sort of understood that I would go. Only after I married and moved away from home did I have a need to buy fishing tackle and equipment. It was just understood that his gear was community property and I used it whenever I wanted.

We fished all over South Florida as I grew up, from Key West to Naples and Palm Beach. Even after I married, I did not buy a boat of my own for several years. I didn’t need to have one – I had his.

This father’s day, I find myself looking at my own kids. Kids? They’re all married and my two boys are over 30. They both love to fish, and as I watch them and their families, I find myself watching me. I see myself doing the same things my father did with me. I don’t really think about it – it’s like it was ingrained in my being.

When they were growing kids, the boat seldom left the house without all three of us in it. I bought rods and reels for them, but it was understood that they were “ours.”

As they grew older, my boat was always a family thing – not my own possession. My oldest son, Tom, with whom I fish today, used the boat more than I did it seems. David moved to another state, but he has one of “our” boats that I did not want to trade, and he fishes out of it every week.

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