The other day, “us boys” headed up to the lake for some good ‘ol fashion bonding time. We invited my dad to come along because, let’s be honest, the only thing that makes a fishing trip even better is when Grandpa is there.
I’ve always been a better fisherman than my dad. When we were growing up, he’d take us fishing several times every year, and somehow he never caught a thing. He’d get bites, he’d yank on his pole to set the hook, and nothing. Every single time. Nothing. He’d grow tired of it, and then let us hold his fishing pole for awhile. Without fail, the second he handed it over, we’d land a fighter. We would always laugh hysterically at his dumb luck.
It wasn’t until I was a dad that I found out he’d always handed us his pole with a fish already hooked on the line.
It wasn’t until I was a dad that I realized just how much those fishing trips always meant to me.
And so, “us boys” headed up for some fishing, like we often do. The shore was packed. Nobody was catching anything. A fresh insect hatch had just hit and the water was covered with bugs. This meant a never-ending feast at the surface for the fish who suddenly had no need for balls of cheese or worms on hooks.
We rigged our lines and cast them out. We sat for about an hour, wedged in-between dozens of other families. There wasn’t a single whoop and holler. There wasn’t a single shout of elation. The fish were safe that night.
And then, my bobber went under. I gave a swift jerk to the line and after making sure that the fish was hooked, I sat back down and yawned. “Noah, I’m kind of tired of holding my fishing pole. You wanna hold it for a minute? Can you handle holding a fishing pole this big?” He was elated, and took it from me, excited to show me that he could, indeed, handle it.
The tip of the pole jerked down. “Noah, I think you just got a bite, pull up on it, quick!” He pulled and suddenly felt the thrill of a fish fighting on the line. Daddy, there is a fish! I did get one! he screamed. “Reel it in and let’s see it!”
As he reeled his fish in, I stomped the ground and declared how frustrated I was that I never catch a fish and he always catches a fish. He laughed, hysterically, just like I used to laugh at my dad when he never caught a fish.
He landed the fish, and you would have thought it was Christmas morning. Within the next ten minutes, we came as close to feeling like celebrities as we ever would. One at a time, everybody on the shore wandered over to ask us what we were using. Noah emphatically told everybody who came over the story of how he caught his fish.
On the way home, we all laughed some more about the fish Noah caught when nobody else could catch one.
For Noah, it was magic. For dad, it was beautiful. For grandpa, I’m betting he loved it as much as he did 25 years ago.
And that is why dads go fishing with their kids.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
Do you have any special memories with your dad? Please share.