Making up for lost time

by Jennifer Askey
(Boulder, CO)

This is a little bit of a different story, more about a relationship than fishing, but a relationship that has changed because of fishing and specifically Tenkara.

I am in my mid-50's. My dad is nearing 80. Last year, he and Mom moved to the family ranch after my grandparents' deaths. I have been spending some time there, really enjoying the peace and tranquility and getting reacquainted with Dad. He was away alot when we were growing up. He had six mouths to feed on a job that was seasonal and involved long days and a lot of travel. None of us felt like we were close to him, and I suppose we missed that.

Fast forward to this past year, a 1/2-acre farm pond and some fat trout. Dad and I had fished the pond every week or so for the past year, using spinning gear and occasionally taking out a silly little two-seater paddle boat. Some days we caught a few fish, some days none, but it was as much about catching up on Life as it was about fishing. Last November, before the pond froze over for the winter, we had a day when absolutely nothing we presented to the increasingly wily trout would entice them to bite. On a whim, I brought out the Tenkara rod that I've had for a couple of years but never caught more than a few fish on. Everything changed! The fish started biting, I started catching, and Dad went to the barn and pulled out a 50-yr old bamboo fly rod. He started catching fish, too! It didn't matter what flies we had on; nor did the presentation seem to matter. For two days the fish hit anything that fell from the sky, and we landed somewhere near 40 fish (missing as many more).

But what both of us will take to the grave from those two days was the laughter and thrills we shared in catching those trout. Dad's old fly reel was an automatic of some kind, and he would periodically hit the button that ZING! retrieved the line, which was cause for some hilarity on my part. I planted a fly in his earlobe. Neither of us really knew what we were doing, but the fish didn't know that and it didn't matter.

It was the best time I have ever had the privilege of sharing with my dad, and I am eternally grateful for those two days last fall. It wouldn't have happened unless that Tenkara rod had been in the back of my truck.

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