A Father’s Wish

Elizabeth’s first catch on a lure. Father’s Day 2012, Slate Run Park.

Father’s Day 2012 was a warm, sunny day in central Ohio. We started our fishing trip by going out for lunch. As we drove the 45 minutes to Slate Run Park, we talked about the past week, and the many items pressing on the mind of a seven year old girl. I was amazed, Elizabeth is only seven years old, but I caught a glimpse into how she thinks. I saw how, as a woman, Elizabeth with solve problems and rationalize. After solving the problems of the world, we arrived at the park and made our way to the second dock at the fishing pond.

The first dock was full of people, and the second dock had a grandfather with his grandson using live bait. We were going to use lures. Elizabeth has gotten good at casting and I was looking forward to seeing her catch her first fish on a lure. I tell her where to put the lure, and she calculates the wind and places the lure just right. All she needs from dad is where to cast too and she does the rest in her head, while we are talking about Barbie dolls and puppy dogs.

Today though, the wind was high, moving from our left to our right, and the water choppy. Even the live bait fishermen were having no luck. I changed Elizabeth’s lure a few times, when she spotted my fly-fishing lures. Fly-fishing is a different style of fishing. Sport fishing is the most popular form of recreational fishing, the easiest, and most economical (though some people spend quite a bit of money on their sport fishing equipment). Fly-fishing is difficult and requires specialized equipment and techniques. Fly-fishing is art.

Elizabeth’s, Father’s Day 2012, Slate Run Park.

In fly-fishing the lure looks like an insect, and weighs about the same. Sport fishing you use weights to get your bait or lure to the depth you want and to cast the line. But, fly-fishing lures are fished on the surface like the insects they imitate. If you put weights on the line to cast it, the lures sink. Therefore, fly-fishing line is tapered and coated so that the line weighs enough to cast the lure. (I have included a video clip example of fly-fishing at the bottom of the article.)

Elizabeth wanted to try the fly. Well, it was too choppy to catch anything. If she has a good time that is what counts. I tied the fly on her line.

“I tried that when I was kid,” said the grandfather beside us. “It didn’t work, I couldn’t cast the line, not enough weight.”

“I tried it too,” I said. “I think we all do as kids, ha ha ha.”

The laugh was on us. I pulled about seven feet of line out and handed my Shakespeare rod and reel to Elizabeth. Standing looking at the water for a few minutes, she held the pole out in one hand and the line in the other. Then, letting the wind take the lure, she dropped the bait on the surface. In three attempts she had three Bluegill, two eight inch and one seven inch.

“I have never seen anyone do that before,” said the grandfather. “Catching fish with a fly on a sport rod and reel, she must be pretty good.”

“I’ve never seen it either,” I said.

Soon, we had people from the first dock asking us what Elizabeth was using to catch fish with (they still had not caught anything). They repeated the grandfather’s sentiments and walked away saying, “She’s pretty good.”

Elizabeth’s, Father’s Day 2012, Slate Run Park.

We then left for the playground and a few hours on the swings and monkey bars. I loved the pictures and fishing pole Elizabeth made for me, but today I received the best Father’s Day gift of all. No, not the compliments my daughter received, though I did like that. The gift I received was more precious than a mere compliment.

Every father wishes for his children to be better than he was. Alexandra had more courage and strength than I ever did. Elizabeth has the wisdom and empathy. Not the wisdom we usually think of, a wisdom of knowledge. Elizabeth has a wisdom of seeing and understanding. Elizabeth can see where the lure lands and understand where she needs to aim to get the lure where she wants it. She does this time and time again. More important, she does this in other things as well, not just while she is fishing. Elizabeth can see the things that are not and ask why. Quite often, she also understands how to make those things a reality, or at least she is trying to work out the problem in her mind.

Almost all children have empathy at a young age. They see someone who is hungry and they want to feed them. Elizabeth does the same. Then she will ask, “Papa, what about tomorrow?”

“What do you mean Sweetheart?”

“Well Papa, she will be hungry tomorrow too.”

Empathy with foresight. Too bad more of our political leaders do not have this kind of empathy.

Yes, I can say that my children are better than I am. No one knows how much time we have left. But, when my time comes I will be at peace in the knowledge that no matter what life may bring, Elizabeth will surpass her father.

Is there a better gift a father can receive on Father’s Day?

Elizabeth’s first fishing trip, Father’s Day 2009, Slate Run Park.

Elizabeth’s fishing trip, Father’s Day 2009, Slate Run Park.

Follow this link to see an example of fly-fishing http://youtu.be/oc2PQljqAXw


Filed under family, fishing, New

3 responses to “A Father’s Wish

  1. Kris Pribnow

    Fishing is really a very good past time. I enjoy catching fishes and i also love to cook them while having a nice camping around the river. ;;“,


  2. Maybe we should call Elizabeth “The Fish Whisperer”. 🙂 She’s obviously got what it takes!

    Funny how we adults think we’re teaching the kids. I suspect that many people forget that kids can teach us, too.


  3. That was wonderful Joe. Made me weepy. I wish I had had a dad like you!