I doubt that Jeremiah thought of it as a Father's Day gift, but that's what he gave me on Monday. He asked me to take him to Trout Lake.
It's been almost four years since we've been there together. In those days we would go in the canoe, and he would do his best with a fly rod, which wasn't very good. Usually the fish wouldn't be cooperating anyway, and he'd get frustrated and bored.
In the meantime he has discovered bass fishing, spinning rods, and bass boats, and hasn't had any interest in canoes or trout, or, heaven forbid, float tubes. But he hadn't been fishing much this Spring, and he kept hearing that I was catching fish at the lake. So he asked to go. Well, "asked" in fifteen-year-old terms, which means he told me he was ready, let's go now.
I offered to pack up the canoe, but he surprised me by wanting to go out in a float tube. He just finished up baseball, and did well, so maybe his confidence is high enough that he decided he could risk looking silly in a tube.
He'd never been in a float tube in his life, but he figured things out quickly, and before I could launch into long instructions, he launched.
It had been a hot day, and it was still bright and warm when we started.
Jeremiah used his own gear but with a casting bubble so he could cast one of my flies. I got him all set up with a brown drake muddler, and with a few suggestions--just suggestions--from me on what had been getting fish in my net he was soon working the shoreline like a pro.
The first hit on his fly surprised him, and he missed it. "I wasn't looking," he said. But you should have seen his smile when he went back to work.
He knows how to fish by now, and I know the lake a lot better than I did the last time he and I were there, and there were still some brown drakes coming off. So conditions were right, and this time he finally connected.
Yeah, man. And that was just the beginning.
And he really got into catch and release.
We gave it a good try, though, and stayed out until dark.
Back at the take out Jeremiah waded out into the lake, just because he could. And maybe as a way to cement the bond that had been formed.
So when he waded out again and lugged his gear back up to the truck I think we were both aware that a door had been opened up into a whole new world of fishing for him. "You have to buy me my own waders, Dad." he said.
He still likes bass, and he wants a new spinning rod and reel, and I doubt he'll ever get tired of the speed of a bass boat. But I went out again by myself for a couple of hours on Tuesday evening, and as soon as I got home Jeremiah asked me if I had caught anything. "Yep," I said. "A Brown?" he asked. "Just one," I answered. "Not real big--but nice." He thought about that for a minute, then asked, "When can we go out again?"
Happy Father's Day to me.