ON FLORIDA’S WATERS
By Kevin McCarthy
June has several fish- and sea-related holidays, for example an eel festival in Denmark, World Oceans Day, Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the start of hurricane season, and—of course—Father’s Day on June 19.
Fishing-related presents for dads include a hook with a lure announcing “new fishing budding arriving in 9-16,” a personalized landing net, a special lure with words like “I’ll love you till the end of the line,” or —for a spouse—a lure with the words “You’re my greatest catch.”
Instead of having your children buy you a tie or a breakfast outing or a mushy card, why not celebrate it by taking the children out fishing? The Florida weather should be good by that time, and the waters should be teeming with fish.
Some of my best memories of activities with my children involve a rainy day on a Punta Gorda dock with my youngest son catching his first fish, a post-Christmas trip fishing with my older son on the Waccasassa River, a sunny day far off Cape Canaveral deep-sea fishing with two of my children, and watching my children holler with delight as they caught their first trout in a stocked pond.
I still think of my own dad taking my brother and me fish off an island in New Jersey. I don’t remember if we caught anything, but the memories are great, even if they involve having our outboard engine conk out and relying on some kind fishermen in another boat towing us to shore.
Trace Adkins has a wonderful country song entitled “Just Fishing’” with lyrics like these about a father fishing with his young daughter: “And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside… I guarantee this memory’s a big’in/And I better do this every chance I get/’Cause time is tickin.’” If you want to play the song as you’re driving to a favorite fishing spot with your daughter, go for it, but be sure to keep the hankies nearby.
The photo here of a father teaching his very young daughter to fish sums up what such a day could mean to the father and, more importantly, for his child or grandchild. So, happy Father’s Day to all the dads, future dads and children whose dads or granddads took them fishing over the years. I’m a grandfather now and looking forward to taking my grandsons and granddaughters fishing in our rich Florida waters.
Kevin McCarthy, the award-winning author of “South Florida Waterways” (2013 – available at amazon.com for $7), can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.