Ask any angler how they got started fishing and 9 out of 10 times they will tell you it was with their dad or grandad. Dads play such an important role in passing on fishing knowledge from generation to generation. It starts out with simple panfishing using a closed faced reel partnered with a worm, hook, and bobber. From there it evolves into some of the harder species like bass and walleye and then maybe you end up fishing tournaments together. Regardless of whether it’s panfishing or competitive bass tournaments, the time you spend fishing with your father will be some of the most cherished memories of both of your lives.
Growing up, my dad was never that into fishing. He would dust off the tackle box a couple times a year when we went up north to a cottage, but that was about it. Up until a couple summers ago, he used the same rod and tackle box since before I was born. Both have since been retired, but not without their fair share of stories.
My dad’s tackle box is filled with the basics — a couple of spinners, some spoons, a Rapala Floating Minnow (which I think outdates my 25 years), hooks, bobbers, and leaders. I used a similar size box for most of my life, until I really caught the bug and had to upgrade. My dad now uses my old box.
I’m not exactly sure what the rod was, but if I had to guess it was a 7 foot, medium power rod coupled with a closed faced spinning reel. It was likely bought from Canadian Tire years ago for a very good price. Until I spent a summer working at a fishing lodge, this rod was responsible for reeling in the biggest fish I ever saw. I was too young to remember what type of fish it was, but Dad still talks about how big it was.
We have had some good times fishing together. Like the time I dropped his rod in the water and refused to go in after it. Let’s just say he wasn’t very impressed that he had to dive in after it himself.
One of the funnier (and dangerous) moments took place four years ago at a cottage outside of Hunstville. We were fishing down on the dock and Dad was standing to my left. After about 15 minutes of fishing, he went to make a cast and before I knew what happened, I had a Mepps spinner in my left chest pocket. Somehow his cast went around the right side of my body, wrapped around me, and ended up hooked into my red and black plaid jacket. This was, and still is, a cottage attire staple for me, and it now has a slight rip in the chest pocket. Whenever I see it I’m reminded of this story.
After it happened, I stood there for a bit trying to figure out how he managed to do that while we, along with the rest of the family on the dock, laughed hysterically. With the exception of weeds, I was the only thing either of us caught during the visit there.
I should note that the same thing happened the next day. I now stand at a distance when my dad is casting.
For my birthday last year, Dad took me on a charted fishing trip in Lake Erie. Although we only caught two walleye, it was still a great day being out on the water and catching fish with my dad. This trip was only our second time fishing together in a boat. At a cottage in Honey Harbour two summers ago, we had access to a little boat with a 9.9. We took it out one evening across the bay and fished some weeds for an hour or so until the bugs got too bad.
Even though I’m more serious about my fishing these days, I still love to post up on the dock with him and do some casting. It is not a productive method of fishing, but theres something about fishing off the dock with my dad that is special.
My dad taught me the basics of fishing and has provided me with some of my greatest fishing memories. I couldn’t have asked for a better instructor. I hope one day I’m able to positively influence my children the way he did me. I’m sure he will give me some pointers along the way.
I’m looking forward to out fishing him from the dock again this summer.
Happy fathers day dad!