I can remember being a little kid in the early 70’s, driving along with my Mom and Dad. Dad would bring along his fishing rod/reel and we would go to the Fraser River in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area of B.C.
We would set up some folding lawn chairs…do you remember those old ones made from aluminum, and had the woven nylon strapping to make the cushion and seat back? My Dad would find a big ‘Y’ stick to shove into the sandy ground for a rod rest, then he’d tie on a ‘Bar Rig’ and weights, put some sort of bait on the hooks, and toss it out into the river. Then, we would wait for the rod tip to bounce.
I learned a lot from those times, and never felt ‘bored’ or wanted to do anything else except be there, in that moment, with my parents and my Dad’s ‘old school’ fibreglass rod and spinning reel. Looking back on it, I kinda chuckle at the fact that we never caught any salmon, just some bullheads, but that was never really the focus of the event. It was about being outdoors as a family, and me learning something from my Dad that I could carry with me the rest of my life…patience.
Now, I may not have been the best student in the world, when it came to learning about patience, but in so many ways, my Dad was a Master at doing things that took time and patience. In his late 50’s he took up doing needlepoint, and the hundreds of hours he put into one piece was amazing! To this day, I acknowledge that I don’t have half the patience my Dad had. But, I still look back to those early examples, that were never overtly told to me to pay attention… but I did, and learned quite a bit.
I also spent a lot of time fishing various rivers, from about age 9 through 17, with my oldest brother, who is 15 years my senior. We would spend the day out together, and have lots of laughs. His spending time with me, meant the world to me. He taught me how to read a river, where the fish hang out, how to put the lure past them, etc. I still remember getting a ‘Custom Made Graphite Rod’ and a new reel for my Christmas present from my brother and my parents, in 1985. I felt I was ‘in the big leagues’ now, ready to take on the biggest Steelhead in the rivers! That rod and reel was my pride and joy. I took excellent care of it, and caught a ton of fish on that combo! My brother eventually got married, had a family, and our times on the rivers had come and gone.
When I was in my teens, my Dad gave me that old rod and reel of his, which I had used as a kid. I treasured it for years, until one day my storage locker in the apartment complex I lived in, got broken into, and some thief stole all the fishing gear I had accumulated over my lifetime. My renter’s insurance had a $500 deductible, and my following year’s insurance premiums would have increased, not to mention the fact that $500 back in 1988 was about the equivalent to $1,000 today. I never replaced the old gear. I felt very dejected over the loss of some very dear items that held sentimental value to me. The one thing the thief did not steal, were all of the great memories I had of using that gear with my Dad and my brother!
I ended up taking about a 30-year break from fishing, and I decided, about four years ago, that I wanted to get back into the sport. But, my days on the rivers had passed. They are far too crowded these days, and it is too hard to find a quiet place to focus and relax.
Instead, I choose to go to smaller lakes in the Interior of B.C., and find my patch of water there.
The great thing is, my brother and I reconnected over our mutual love of fishing, and I have spent many hours talking with him, and we have even done some lake fishing together! He is 68 now, diabetic, had a severe heart attack in the Fall of 2019 – we almost lost him from it. A quintuple bypass surgery had to be done, for him to survive. We are all grateful to have him around today.
The funny thing is, whenever I reflect on times growing up around him, the strongest memories pertain to our day trips, when he’d take me out fishing for the day, as a kid.
Taking a kid out fishing, teaches them so much more than you think it does! It gives them invaluable skills to take through life; patience, focus, grounding and relaxation, how to put food on the table… and a side effect will be the lifelong memories you will have created together!