A tribute to all the dads who take time to take kids fishing and hunting

Thanks, Dad. Thanks for taking me fishing and hunting.

And thanks for putting up with the times I spooked the fish and hooked the stumps and hollered “I wanna go home” right when the fish started biting.

And just as important, thanks for teaching me that catching a limit or getting a good shot isn’t why we hunt and fish. It’s the time we spend outdoors that counts. You taught me to respect the wildlife and fisheries resources we have. Without that, fishing and hunting are a meaningless pursuit…

You also taught me some of the finer points of fishing, like if you have some fresh hoop cheese, saltines, Vienna sausages and a fresh garden tomato for lunch, it doesn’t matter if the fish bite or not.

Since Father’s Day is this month, I think it appropriate for me and all the other guys and gals whose fathers started them out with a cane pole and a can of worms or a .410 shotgun to say a word of thanks. I fished with my folks since I was big enough to remember. We had to get up at 4 a.m. and drive to the lake in the dark so that we could get there in time to rent one of the few boats available in those days. If you got there too late, you fished off the bank and went home early. If you made it in time to get a boat, you got to fish all day for a dollar.

Memories never fade

Times have changed a lot since then, and so has fishing. Both my folks have gone on to be with the Lord, but the memories never fade.

We eventually got our own boat and enjoyed countless days on the water. Many of the good memories didn’t come from catching lots of fish, but some of them did.

Dad was basically a bream and white perch fishermen. I caught bass fever at an early age and neither of us ever wavered. However, we did compromise enough to fish for each other’s favorite species occasionally. Our prize catches were always white perch because you couldn’t catch them just anywhere or anytime. They were something special.

Good times

It was also always a tradition of ours to go to Toledo Bend and spend a week camping and fishing. For Toledo Bend fishing, bass always came first, and I was able to convince Dad that he should give them a try. Usually, I convinced him by bringing in a good stringer to get him a little bit more motivated.

One day we were fishing with a friend, and I had spent the best part of the morning trying to teach Dad how to fish with a plastic worm and to be able to tell the difference between a fish hitting the worm and the worm hitting a log. I kept telling him it wasn’t like bream fishing where they just grab it and you catch them. He hadn’t had much luck. We were fishing an old log pile and I had caught a couple of small ones, when he turned to me and said we needed to move the boat back because he was hung on a log. Well about that time, that old “log” started moving, shaking that plastic worm for all the big lunker was worth.

So much for having just the right feel and for setting the hook like a pro. That fish was hung and Dad was in for some fight. He finally landed the 7-pounder several minutes later and it was the biggest fish anybody in the campground caught our whole vacation.

“I thought you said this was hard,” he said with that sly grin of his.

A lasting legacy

I could go on and on, as many of you could when talking about the father, uncle or neighbor who took the time to teach you the basics and then encouraged you to pursue outdoor sports on your own. In doing that, they gave you something to do for a lifetime – something you can do with your friends, by yourself or even later with your own kids.

That’s why today’s a good day to remember what they’ve done. Or if you still have your dad, take him fishing and say “thanks” in person. You never know when you are seeing your last cork bobble and go under together.

I can especially relate to that now the same way he did. My own son, Adam, and daughter, Julie, went fishing with me for years. My son’s first “real” fishing trip was one we still get a laugh over, and I’ll never forget it. We were to get up early and go before the sun was even up and stay all day. We packed lunch and plenty of snacks and left them on the kitchen cabinet. Then I helped him lay out all his stuff and tucked him in bed. But before I could get settled in my own bed, the light in the hall came on and here came Adam — fully dressed, including hat, life jacket, sunglasses and all.

“Dad, if it’s okay with you, I’ll just sleep right here by your bed so you won’t forget me,” he said.

How could I say no? And as for Julie, I can’t even try to tell her that hunting and fishing are just for the boys.

So when they spook the fish and hang the stumps and holler “I wanna go home” right when the fish start biting, I’ll try to remember what I’ve been taught. Thanks, Dad.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The post “A tribute to all the dads who take time to take kids fishing and hunting” first appeared on LouisianaSportsman.com.

About Kinny Haddox 72 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 40 years. He also publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com. He and his wife, DiAnne, live on Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville.

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