There are two people I can credit with mentoring my fishing evolution.
Today’s entry is about my first mentor. I credit my own Father with introducing me to the Great Outdoors and specifically, fishing. He christened me when I was a 6 week old baby with a Mepps Treble hook to the forehead and I consider that moment… natural selection. If we observe destiny throughout all the ages, a good fable starts with a meaningful baby scar.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fishing, ever. My earliest memories are all about camping and fishing. Fishing and camping. I’m sure my family did things during the week like work, school, housework and regular life, but my memories are stuffed full of the best parts, our weekends away. We spent almost every weekend away….
I didn’t start fly fishing until my mid-twenties, so back then life was all about drifting a smelly salmon egg down a river current or tossing my favorite fish slayer, the Mepps #2 spinner, across lakes, rivers and the occasional dredge pond. Much to my Fathers dismay, I had a huge (read serious irrational phobia) to worms, so although I wasn’t fly fishing yet, I was already leaning heavily on a dependency of artificial lures.
It was my Dad who showed me how to read a river as a book full of hints and clues. He showed me that a deep calm hole wasn’t the only place to discover fish and that little ripples and behind certain rocks held some of the best fish. He taught me patience and demonstrated the tenacity needed for a day when the fish were being difficult. He also made fishing fun by offering all the kids a quarter for the first fish, the biggest fish etc….thus sending all of us little ones out onto the waters, competition style, with a quest to WIN.
What I didn’t realize back then (and to type ‘back then’ puts the cringe in the truth of getting old enough to type ‘back then’) is that my Father was giving me a huge gift by including me in everything that he loved. He could have easily left me home while he went off fishing and hunting to enjoy some alone time, away from wife and kids– guy time–but instead he always asked if I wanted to come…and I always did.
Turn about is fair play and I’m happy to say a time came in my life when I had morphed from a fishing gal into a fly fishing gal and I was able to show my Mentor Father how to do something new. Fly fishing.
To my Dad, to all the Dads who pass on alone guy time to take their little ones fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, anything….. Thank you for showing the little ones the beauty of the outdoors. It really is a priceless gift that can last a lifetime.