Fathers and Fishing

Fathers and fishing just seem to go hand in hand.

My grandfather, Roy Welch, would have been content to spend his whole life on a creek bank with a cane pole and his ever-present Roi Tan cigars. I’ve told the story about how I asked him why he read murder mystery books instead of my fishing magazines. His heath was failing and he was living with us at the time. His answer: “If I read about fishing, I’d want to go fishing. I can read a murder mystery without wanting to go out and kill someone.”

I’m pretty sure the man in the center middle seat is my grandfather.

Dad and Grandfather in 1942

This photo was taken of my Dad and Grandfather in Rolla in 1942.

Caption says they’re talking fishing

The caption on the back of the photo, in my Dad’s distinctive handwriting, asks, “Where can we go fishing?”

Radio of death

The “portable” radio behind Dad would operate on a huge battery or on AC power. The only catch was that if you happened to touch any metal on the radio when it was plugged into the wall, you’d get a taste of what the guy in the electric chair must have experienced. The thing is still up in Mother’s attic. I’m afraid to get near it. I think it’s still looking for me.

Fishing was fun until you caught one

When I was a kid, I loved to fly fish. I loved that feeling when you dropped a fly in just the right spot and a fish hit it like he was a tennis player returning a serve. It was all the stuff that happened after that I wasn’t keen on.

When I was working in Athens, Ohio, the other photographer, Bob Rogers, lived in a house with a nice pond in his front yard. On a slow day, I’d park my car close enough that I could hear any radio calls, then get in a little fishing. If I caught anything, I’d leave a note on Bob’s door telling him there was a stringer of fish waiting for him. Catching was more fun than cleaning.

Looks like Brothers David and Mark share my enthusiasm for skinning and preparing catfish.

Tentative touching going on

I don’t know that Mark ever warmed up to fishing, but David got to be quite an accomplished fish killer. You saw how Son Matt reacted to fish when Dad introduced him to one. He still has that reaction.

So, how many of you associate fishing with your father? Was it a mostly guy thing or was there some father / daughter bonding done on the creek bank, too?

Stories about my Dad


9 Replies to “Fathers and Fishing”

  1. I fished with my grumpy pa on the “ditch” on his farm in Puxico. We fished with cane poles, nothing fancy like you had Ken. He also knew when I had a bite and I didn’t because I was too busy watching the tractors in the field or what everyone else was doing, that when he said “Get on there fish”, he would tell me ladybug, you have a fish, YANK! I thought he was MAJIC! Sure wish I had pictures of him and I on that bank fishing, those were some of the best times of my life Ken, thanks for reminding me!

  2. Fished a lot with Dad and our good friend Pete Mienz on the “Big Ditch” (aka Diversion Channel). Caught lots of big cat fish, more than enough gars, and a few white perch. Once in a while we would have a snake in the boat which made it fun. We also had a small farm which had three ponds. Lots of bass and crappie. It truely was the best of times. However, I agree with Ken, catching is much better than cleaning.

  3. Fishing was a very minor interest of Don’s, but when our daughter was little, Don was a good sport and took Brooke fishing so she could experience it. She had her own little tackle box and pole. What I remember is that Brooke loved to go with Don to fishing supply stores so that she could add to her collection of various plastic type glow worms that she endlessly rearranged in her tackle box. What they did enjoy together was going canoeing on the Madison lakes.

  4. Fishing was not my Dad’s thing but my Mom loved it. My best days though were in high school fishing with John Hirsch, Charlie Wilson and Larry “Nine” Points. We went to the Marquette lower lakes, Brockmeyer’s or any of a number of the creeks in the area. Never cared for cleaning fish except for trout. Trout are so easy.

  5. Dad liked to fish, and he and mother literally built a cabin at Clearwater Lake where we would spend weekends and a one week vacation every other summer. Dad rented a fishing boat at the dock and handled the motor while fishing out of the back of the boat. My mom, sister, and I all had lines out, too, as we trolled around the lake. Dad had endless patience and would help us untangle our lines if we didn’t make the turn properly at the end of a pass up the lake. Dad pulled our tackle out of the bushes or carefully put more tackle on when a “wood” bass broke the line. He baited our hooks when we were using live bait and let us choose any plug we wanted from his collection. If we caught a fish, then he would take it off the hooks and later clean it for the fish fry. Now, I bait my hook and take the fish off the line, but thankfully, Doug does the cleaning, so I can do the cooking.

  6. My dad did not have an extensive fishing background, but took it up when i showed a pronounced interest in it. he taught me what he knew but I surpassed him and then I became the teacher. I lived near Harold and Bob Stone in Rodney Vista and learned a lot from them and their dad and from Dick Stoll’s dad, but mostly from Charlene McNeil’s dad Charley. I remember plaintively asking dad for “just one more cast” at the end of every trip. He always obliged. I am like that to this day. I’m always the last one off the water.

  7. I got the fishing bug from my dad.. Remember going to Horseshoe Lake and bringing home many crappie. Dad always cleaned them but I learned how from him. Love to trout fish now. How you doing Doughty!!! Burt

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