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Wednesday
Nov102010

My Father Is Watching

When two people share the water together, so much more happens than the simple wetting of fishing lines.  That was the case with Seth and his father.  While we drove down dark back-roads to our salmon fishing destination, Seth shared some of his childhood memories and the times with his father fishing.  Unfortunately, their fishing partnership was cut short when Seth’s father passed away in his teen years.  Fishing took a back seat to other priorities for Seth as he moved through his adult life.  This spring, however, we had the chance to connect and do some cat-fishing together.  We had some amazing experiences and our own fishing partnership began.  Now we were graduating to the apex of freshwater fishing in Michigan; king salmon fishing.

We parked the car and donned our waders.  Trudging through the woods, I described to Seth and his friend Kristina what they could expect.  The river was full of fish and the spawn was reaching its peak, so huge fish, wild battles, and big smiles would be the order of the day.  We settled into our spot while it was still dark and waited for first light.  Violent splashing shattered the morning silence as individual salmon came crashing up through the shallow water, heading upstream on their fall migration.  As the darkness began to fade, we went to work.  Kristina was the first to connect with a salmon.  The large fish took her up and down the small river for nearly 15 minutes before we could get the monster under control.  Soon Seth had a fish on, and more mayhem followed as we tried to land his salmon. 

 

After two hours and several fish, the sun peaked over the tops of the trees and the action slowed.  I began collecting our fishing gear together for the walk home, then called to Seth.  He was standing upstream of me, silhouetted by the amazing color display of fall leaves and rising sunlight, simply staring at the breathtaking scenery.  I called to him again, stating that we needed to get going.  When he turned, I saw that Seth was in tears.  He slowly walked back to me, and I asked him what was up.

“This morning has been so awesome.  It made me think of the times when my father used to take me fishing.  We always went after small fish, but I think he would have loved this.  Catching those salmon just make me think of how proud my father would have been of me right now…like I know he’s right here and he can see me.  It’s just awesome.”

Seth choked up with tears again.  I could only get out the words, “I’m sure he can, Seth.   I’m sure he can.”

 

Fishing is more than the pursuit of fish.  It’s the pursuit of connection…with our past…with our companions on the water…with the amazing creation we are surrounded by…with ourselves in the quiet moments we find there.  When that connection happens, it can be life-changing.  Our goal is to bring as many people to a place where they can have a truly amazing outdoor experience.  It is our hope that these adventures can impact their lives, and set in place an outdoor legacy for generations to follow.