Monday, July 29, 2013

Look out fish, here we come

Father-and-son fishing trips have been taking place for as long as there have been fathers,  sons and fish.
From the first time Ugghe Jr. was old enough to accompany Ugghe Sr. on a prehistoric fishing expedition, men have bonded over the killing of gilled animals.
Of course, in the Ugghe's days the fish were just as likely to catch them, but obviously enough dino-angles survived to ensure fishing became a beloved pastime for many.
Through the centuries, fishing trips helped foster the father-son dynamic, whether fish were actually caught or not.
I too am a member of the father-son fish assassination squad. My dad and I have hauled in our fair share of finned critters, all of which were cooked for the family.
Like my father before me, I never understood the point of taking a creature's life just for the thrill of it. If there was no practical reason to kill it - don't. It's that simple.
If you are going to kill something, at least let its death have some meaning.
I could go on a rambling diatribe about trophy hunters who kill defenseless animals for 'sport' so they can mount their heads and hides on the wall or floor.
I am not too sure how sporting it is to use a high-powered rifle with a scope to shoot a bear while he is, you know, taking care of business in the woods.
I am not opposed to hunting – one of my closest friends is an avid hunter and he eats everything he kills.
Well, almost everything. He is terrified of frogs and when he sees one he will either scream like a small frightened school girl or use that high-powered rifle to send Kermit's cousin to frog Valhalla.
But when he is not cowering at the sight of a web-footed monster, he is hunting deer that he turns into sausage, steaks, deer burgers and a variety of tasty treats. Some people still think that is cruel, but look at it this way: one deer killed is a cow saved. That should balance out karma for my happy hunting friends out there.
Anyway, Dad loved fishing since he was a little boy, so every couple of weeks we would head out, fishing pole in hand, to catch our limit.
We would pile into a small aluminum boat and troll the water looking for rainbow trout.
But, that was not the only kind of fishing we did. Dad was a big fan of river fishing. Not a slow-moving river where you lounge on the shoreline waiting for a bite. Where's the fun in that?
No, my dad would take me to one of the most dangerous stretches of water within 100 miles of our home.
The water was fast, there was a vicious undercurrent and to quote my dad, “You better be careful. If you fall in, you're not coming out.”
Sobering words for a young lad, but I was up for the challenge.
“Oh, and watch out for rattlesnakes. They are all over the place around here.”
Hmmm, I wonder if dad had some sort of life insurance policy on me. 
We would hike several miles up river and fish our way down, hitting back eddies filled with fish.
I ran a  heavy line while fishing the river because I was determined to catch a steelhead – the biggest fish in those waters.
I pulled some very nice trout out of that river, but the massive steelhead eluded me.
I quickly loved river fishing as much as my dad, and the thrill of casting a line into the raging waters was like a drug. As time marched on, we did more river fishing and less boat fishing.
It's been years since dad and I fished. He can no longer walk on the rocks and life just keeps us too busy to find the time.
I have his fishing pole mounted on the wall of my Man Cave (aka garage) and every time I look at it I am reminded of those wonderful, albeit occasionally dangerous, days.
How I miss them.

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