the way out here

NOT Father’s Day fishing

By HUNTER HILL
Posted 6/23/21

For the record, I was right. But then I was wrong. Returning to the right, I’m going to chalk up my confusion to a well-balanced case of aging. As someone who prides himself on being organized …

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the way out here

NOT Father’s Day fishing

Posted

For the record, I was right. But then I was wrong. Returning to the right, I’m going to chalk up my confusion to a well-balanced case of aging. As someone who prides himself on being organized with dates and events, it was out of character for me to lose track of what day Father’s Day was. On Friday, June 11, I had originally reminded my wife of that Father’s Day would be the following weekend, June 20. At some point over that weekend, my lovely brain decided that Father’s Day was, in fact, that Sunday, June 13. In a bit of a mood on the following Monday, I texted my good friend Amanda that nobody had wished me a happy Father’s Day over the weekend, to which she replied matter-of-factly that that might be due to the fact that the holiday had not yet come.

My shameful memory aside, I spent the weekend celebrating what I thought was Father’s Day with my father and son. An added travesty, I had not yet been fishing this year; therefore, we decided to take advantage of the good fishing weather and break the drought. With my son bundled up in his lifejacket and our gear packed in the rowboat, we launched mid-morning down to a nice cove on Duck Harbor where the fish had been fairly active, according to my dad who had been out the past few days. Sure enough, before either of us could cast out our lines, the giant neon orange bobber of my son’s miniature rod began to dip and dive in the water. It was equipped with nothing but a nightcrawler dug up that morning, and the fish had no qualms about the fresh bait as it attempted to run away with the line. My son, still only 2 years old, apparently didn’t quite understand that it was a good thing that the bobber was moving the way it was, and he blankly stared out at the escaping prize. In true grandfatherly form, my father reached over to set the hook for him before shoving the rod back into my son’s tiny hands. The two of us frantically tried explaining in calm (not-calm) voices that he needed to keep the rod up and reel in the fish. My son’s response? He decided to put the rod down. Lunging from either end of the boat, my dad and I continued to try to motivate my boy to action by placing his hands on the rod and helping him reel it in. Realizing I needed to have this experience for posterity, I reached in my pocket to begin filming the event that, by now, was beginning to feel a bit like a “Three Stooges” episode. Though I failed to penetrate my young son’s ridiculously tranquil demeanor to fully communicate what was going on, he somehow managed to pull the fish along the boat in time for grandpa to scoop it up with the net.

Forgive the dad brag, but this was my son’s very first fish he had ever caught, and it was a healthy smallmouth bass, about 18 to 20 inches long. I didn’t get a measurement because grandpa decided to release the fish before I could think to stop him. Oh well. Maybe my boy will be able to catch his first fish a second time in the future. Regardless, we continued to fish the morning away, catching a few more bass and a handful of pickerel and sunfish. For whatever reason, my son was more excited about the sunfish than he was the bass. Who knows, but at least I know he’ll be happy fishing from shore if we don’t have the boat next time we go out.

To my earlier point, I even convinced my father that the next day was Father’s Day and that this was a nice way to celebrate it.

While it may not have actually been Father’s Day weekend, it was still a memorable trip with three generations of Hill men. The way out here, we celebrate whether we know it’s a holiday or not. What’s important is sharing milestones like my son’s first fish. Hung on our old family home’s wall used to be a picture of me at his age holding a large bass. Near the bottom of the photo, you can see a gummy worm lying on the ground. All I can remember of the catch was trying to feed it gummy worms while my dad was taking pictures. But one day, my son will have the same type of photo to look back on and the knowledge that his dad and grandpa were both there to help make it happen.

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