I have been fishing almost as long as I can remember. My grandfather and uncle were the instigators of this obsession. They had a classic Minnesota father-child fishing routine that was quickly shared with the next generation. And I enjoyed being part of the Felty boys out fishing in Pa’s simple little boat. I must admit I was equally, maybe more interested in catching rays but the occasional walleye, northern, or perch on my hook was a thrill too.
It’s good that my maternal side had the fishing genes because my paternal clan was of the farming sort that did not take time to fish. My father, who liked his hands in dirt not wrangling earth worms, was content to wave goodbye to my brother and I as we headed away from shore. He had no use for wasting time in a boat chasing fish. So I cannot recall ever fishing with him or the sight of a rod and reel in his hands.
He visited us earlier in the spring and I offered him one of my poles and a fly–private Tenkara lessons on my rivers. He declined with the usual incantations of his oath not to fish. Even the enticement of Colorado water and a trout was not enough to persuade him to fish with me.
I got a text last week with a picture of my seventy year old father standing beside a big fishing boat with a giant grin and a shockingly large walleye. I barely recognized him and definitely didn’t know the boat. He has a second wife, a new family, and apparently a new hobby. A second text came a day later, with a video clip of a giddy man with a full stringer so it seems he may be hooked. Motivation found him somewhere on the lakes of Minnesota. I should be grateful because now, maybe, we will go fishing–unless worms are required in which case I may have to abstain. And I think I will hold off on getting him a rod for Father’s Day.