It will be interesting to find out if Dad remembers the story of me catching my first fish the same way I do…
I believe I must have been five or six. I wore a double-breasted gray-blue “car coat” with a faux-fur lined hood. Dad and I were in a small green pram and he was rowing us around Green Lake, the manmade pond in the heart of Seattle.
A swing of the oars, a dip into the water, and a trail of seven droplets completed each stroke: drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. It was always the same: swing, dip, seven drops. For awhile, I entertained myself by counting the drops as the rhythmic motion was repeated time after time.
The soft pattern was mesmerizing, and combined with the fact that we’d gotten up “well before breakfast,” I’m sure I was about to be lulled into sleep when Dad suddenly stopped rowing.
“Trade poles with me,” he said. “I want to check your bait.”
We switched our small trout poles, and I hunkered back down into my warm cocoon, now clinging with both hands to the cork butt of Dad’s pole.
I watched as he reeled my line in and looked the hook over. I don’t know how long he waited for me to notice, but at long last, I became aware that something was tugging on the fishing line of the pole I was holding!
I’m pretty sure I squealed like a girl, grabbed the handle, and started reeling in as fast as I could.
“Slow down,” said Dad, chuckling. “Don’t horse it.”
I had no idea what he meant by that; it was the first of many fishing lessons I’d have from him over the course of our fishing years together.
But I slowed my frantic reeling. And I brought the 6-inch trout close enough to the boat for Dad to net it. And we had trout for dinner that night—trout that I caught, “all by myself,” thanks to Dad.
Tomorrow there’s a kids’ fishing derby in Ilwaco’s Black Lake. And if you want to give your kids, or grandkids, a lasting memory of quality time together, well, if you read this far, you already know what you need to do…