Creating Magic through Fishing Memories

My first memory of fishing was with my dad when I was about four years old. We were anchored off Honeymoon Harbor in the Bahamas. There wasn’t much room for toys on our 27-ft Morgan sailboat, which we lived aboard for about a month at a time. One day while we were fishing out of our dingy, he casually said, “I think you caught something.” What? I suddenly recognized tension on the line and began to reel it in, so excited. As I looked over the edge of the boat, I was surprised to see something red and yellow on my hook. What was this? I pulled the line in and found, to my surprise, a bright and shiny brand-new Matchbox cement truck hooked on the end of my line, in the middle of the ocean. I turned to my dad in disbelief and wonder and exclaimed, “A toy TRUCK! I doubled over giggling and laughing. I thought it was so silly and like magic to fish a toy truck out of the ocean. In that moment, there was nothing else, just the connection between me, my dad, the water and the “fish.”  It’s a memory I have cherished for years.

Morgan Sailboat

First sailboat we traveled the Bahamas on.

My dad has passed. He taught me to be adventurous, to love the ocean and water. He encouraged me to look up at the night sky and look down through the water. We explored uninhibited islands, slept on the deck of the boat and respected all that nature put before us –  storms, waterspouts and towering waves included.

There are times when I believe saltwater runs through my veins instead of blood. My childhood, though unconventional and some might even say unsupervised was filled with exploration, beauty, fearlessness, adventure and moments and events that were truly magical. I never figured out how my dad got that Matchbox truck on my hook, or if he even actually did. But that moment, that feeling and the connection we shared while we belly-laughed and gawked at the truck dangling from my hook was “cemented” in my mind forever (no pun intended).

Living on a sailboat

Cruising the Caribbean for months at a time we were good at entertaining ourselves

Fishing can do that. It brings people together. It can bring families together, and friends. This Mother’s Day I spent tenkara fishing with my son and stepdaughter. She brought along a girlfriend who had never fished before and grew up in a large urban city. I remember just a few years back teaching my stepdaughter how to fish. Now she was excited to introduce it to and teach her friend on her own Zen Zako rod. My son has been tenkara fishing for years but this Mother’s Day he asked me to teach him to double haul with a reel. He did incredible. In the afternoon while watching him practice cast and “getting it”, I just sat down in the grass and thought, “This is a perfect day” and wished my dad was there to be a part of it.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, any day is a great day to come together, rod in hand. Maybe its spent talking or maybe being quiet. Maybe you’re landing a ton of fish or maybe you land none. It doesn’t really matter because being on the water, fly fishing together, is being together and its special.

I grew up on the water; it’s a huge part of who I am. Oceans and rivers are both places of tranquility and excitement, tradition and exploration, alone time and together time, and fly-fishing brings it all home for me. Zen Tenkara embodies those opposite but complementary states—the yin and the yang. So take somebody fishing. Share the moments. Share the skills. Share the magic.

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Father’s Day to all who have created wonderful memories for their children.

Using the radio

Dad on the radio. Thanks for all the adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *