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    Thanks Dad

    Like a lot of other addicts, I too have an enabler. Actually, I have several. But one in particular is more responsible than the others for contributing to the fact that I fish on approximately twenty-five percent of my days off. He’s my fishing enabler. Thanks Dad.

     Standing in the driveway of my parent’s home one sunny afternoon in August 1998, my dad posed a single, simple question: “Are you going to take your fly-rod”? I was off to college in Montana. The car was loaded with what seemed to be everything I owned. Noticeably absent from the load, though, was my fly-fishing gear. I was headed up early to start football practice. Three-a-days, then two-a-days, then vying for playing time for the three weeks before school started was about all I had on my mind. I had figured that I wouldn’t have time to get much fishing in. I made time.

     Sending me off to school in Montana with fly-rod in hand was sort of like sending Cookie Monster on a self-guided tour of the Keebler factory. To me, Montana was fly-fishing’s version of Mecca and I was with nothing and no one to hold me back. As it turned out, I fished a lot more than I probably should have. This surprises me even today considering I didn’t have a car while I was there. I bummed rides, borrowed cars, and even walked to the Yellowstone River where it ran not far from campus. All because my enabler suggested I take my fly-rod. Thanks Dad.

     The next fall I enrolled at Black Hills State to be closer to home. This time, my enabler sent me not only with my fly-rod, but wheels as well. My car, a 1989 Plymouth Reliant “K” car that was dubbed “The Box” because of its square shape, made more than its fair share of trips up the canyon and back. I wouldn’t have admitted it to him back then, but I would estimate my stream time to classroom time ratio was close to even. If the university handed out grades for catching fish while simultaneously blowing off class, I would have made the Dean’s list. Thanks Dad.

     Fifteen years later not much has changed. Instead of “blowing off” things to go fish, I “prioritize”. When I first met my wife, our second date was to (you guessed it) Center Lake to fish. Ironically we spent our ten year anniversary at Angostura so I could fish in a Walleye tournament. Last fall, Dad stopped by with a present. It’s a shirt that reads “I can’t. I have to fish”. A funny saying on a novelty t-shirt has now become the words that will in all likelihood be my epitaph. Thanks Dad.

    Truth be told, I too am becoming somewhat of a fishing enabler for my own fishing addicted son. At six years old, his grandson has already asked more than once if he could go fishing instead of going to school. “Tell ‘em I’m sick and I have to stay with you, Dad”. In addition, I’m trying to return the favor to Dad as well. I remind him at least once a week that he is eligible to retire and if he did he could go fish without needing to take time off from work or a kitchen pass from my Mom. I’ve learned well. Thanks Dad.

     In all seriousness though, today, on Father’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to thank my fishing enabler for all of his advice, patience, wisdom, support, and love. Many of the key lessons I learned in life were from him. The late, great Jim Valvano said, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me”. Whether I always deserved that or not, he did and I appreciate him for it. He’s been a great mentor, friend, and role model and  many of the lesson’s I learned from him I am trying to pass on to my own children today. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my fishing enabler a Happy Father’s Day. I don’t know where I’d be without you, although I’m sure I probably wouldn’t be fishing. Thanks Dad.


    Fishing Report for 6-16-13

    Angostura has finally heated up. Two good friends both have made trips there in the last week and did very well on Walleye. All over the lake in about 15 feet of water with nightcrawlers and plugs have done well. They both had to sort through some smaller fish but on occasion they would find one over 20” long. The Smallmouth bite has been good there as well.

    Sheridan Lake has been tough. I have fished it twice in the last week as have some friends. A couple reports of smaller Pike being nabbed and a couple reports of smaller Largemouth Bass as well. Haven’t heard much recently about anything awesome coming out of there, not to say there haven’t been good fish, but I just haven’t heard of any.

    My youngest did outstanding catching Bluegill at Pactola. Small chunk of worm under a bobber worked great. Some of the Bluegill he got were hand sized and bigger. Had we been keeping them he would have had a limit in an hour or less. It’s a great spot to take a kid fishing here as of late.

    Finally, the fly fishing in town has been pretty great since the water level has gone down. Prince Nymphs and bigger Beadhead-Pheasant tails did well for me as did Adams and a Blue-Winged Olive. Rapid Creek is still running a little fast in places so caution should be used when wading as always.

    Enjoy the weather and get out there and fish. Keep an eye on the clouds as each day we have a chance at thunderstorms. The ticks and snakes have also been pretty thick. Be sure you take precautions to so that your trip out doesn’t end up being memorable for the wrong reason. Thanks for reading. Fish on!

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