I do not always remember to post something for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, but I have remembered both holidays this year. For Father’s Day let me dig back through the old photo albums, show you some old pictures and tell you a couple of stories.
Here is one of me and my Gramps Roth on the shore of Lewis & Clark Reservoir.
Now let me tell you some of the stories that come flooding back into my mind when I see that photo: There were a couple, maybe three summer vacations where Mom, Dad, sister, me, Grandma and Grandpa Bauer and Gramps Roth spent a week or two traveling, camping and of course fishing together! That photo was taken on one of those summer vacations and was the first time any of us had fished Lewis & Clark. On one of those summer vacations we traveled Minnesota camping and fishing, but at least a couple of them just was spent traveling Nebraska.
I still have a list of hot fisheries in other states that I want to fish. I have fished in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas and even Texas (Grandma and Grandpa Bauer wintered on Falcon Lake for a few years and a couple of spring breaks we got to go down and fish with them!). I will take advantage of opportunities to fish in other states whenever I have the chance. But, I can tell you from those vacations back when I was young that we went to Minnesota and camped and fished for a week or so that we caught more fish in Nebraska.
Did that mean the fishing was better in Nebraska? No, not necessarily. I am sure we caught more fish in Nebraska because we were more familiar with those waters and how to catch fish from them. When we spent a vacation camping and fishing in Minnesota, we learned a lot of new things, for example we had never fished with leeches before then, but mostly we did not have a clue what we were doing. Most of the fish we did catch on that Minnesota trip were caught doing the same things we would have done back in Nebraska. Looking back, I would hope I am a better angler now and would have better success on those far-from-home waters, but I can tell you that I also learned that “the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence”. Maybe that is one reason I am such a defender of the fishing opportunities we have here at home in Nebraska? (If you want to “push my buttons” just tell me we do not have any good fishing in Nebraska! Grrrrr!) I believe I learned that there is some good fishing at home in Nebraska and that it is not so much about fishing the hottest, greatest fisheries as it is about learning how to catch fish!
Anyway, I digress, sorry. This is my blog and sometimes you get the random thoughts that come swimming through my head.
Notice in that picture that there was a gar on the stringer I was holding. As I recall, Gramps Roth caught that gar. We kept that fish because Gramps was determined to clean it and see if it was any good to eat. Well, after much trial, tribulation, some grumbling and a busted fillet knife, as I remember it, Gramps gave up. When Gramps was concentrating hard at doing something he would stick his tongue out, something like Michael Jordan in the middle of driving to the hoop in a playoff game, but no matter how hard he tried, Gramps could not figure out a way to get through that gar’s armor and get the meat out. I know now that with a pair of tin snips he could have made short work of that job, and that we would have enjoyed some tasty gar!
Here is a picture of my Dad and Grandpa Bauer with a McConaughy striped bass.
Yes, as you can see from the ball cap, Grandpa was a Dodge man. I am driving a Dodge pickup right now, but I am not as dedicated to one brand or another as Grandpa was. If it runs, that is all I care. Sorry Grandpa.
Obviously, that picture was taken back during the striped bass days on McConaughy. That is a whole ‘nother story for another time. We never did catch any really big stripers from McConaughy, mostly fish like the one my Dad is holding, but I do remember some fish that broke our lines! I can remember after one of our days fishing on McConaughy we stopped in at Admiral’s Cove, http://www.admiralscoveresort.com/Default.htm , and when we walked in the door, there was a BIG striper laying on top of their chest freezer. That fish had just been caught, caught from the same bay we had been fishing, and was big enough to be a new state record. Back during the striper boom at McConaughy, the hook & line state record was broken frequently, sometimes every few days or weeks. You can imagine the thoughts that ran through my mind thinking we had been fishing the same water, had been so close to catching that state record fish (at least that is what I thought!).
I have no point for this blog post, just wanted to share some memories of fishing with my Dad and Granddads. I hope you get the idea from reading my blog that it really is ALL about family and fishing! Fishing is an activity that gets folks outdoors and brings them together. Every member of the family from grandparents to grandkids can enjoy fishing together. Make sure to make the time to do that with your family, with your fathers and grandfathers.
By popular request, let me finish by sharing this with you:
I will always be a fisherman . . .
It’s not something I do, it is who I am . . .
Fishing is not an escape . . .
It is where I belong, where I am supposed to be . . .
It is not a place, but a lifelong journey . . .
It is a passage my father showed me, and that I will show others . . .
When you understand all of this, you will know me, and we will fish together
Happy Father’s Day, and thanks, Dad.