Wetting A Line With Dad

There was nothing fancy about going to that pond in Wellsburg. It was all about fishing. There weren’t many activities that we did as a large family, but going fishing offered some memorable times.

We were invited to wet a line in the water on Joe Funk’s property where he and his wife bravely opened their pristine home to us. They allowed us to roam about their beautiful homestead that including a honey of a fishing spot.

Some of us needed help baiting the hooks, especially if it meant using worms. I might have been a tomboy in those days, but I preferred using dough balls to live worms. I can see my dad picking up and putting down his fishing pole numerous times as we tested his patience.

I have to admit it was quite a feat for our dad to show patience with all us slinging fishing lines into the water and sometimes tangling them into the nearby trees and bushes. Mostly we pulled bluegill out of the water and an occasional larger fish. Those were some of the good days spent with dad.

My husband and I believe we had some influence on our own son’s love of fishing to this day. We took him to the lakes at Oglebay when he was old enough to cast a line into the water without throwing the entire pole with it. I witnessed that happening a few times at the park with some other kids. Still, it was nice to see multiple generations fishing side-by-side at those lakes.

We and others would make an afternoon of it, complete with a cooler packed with lunch and even some snacks for the ducks. In those days you could freely feed the fowl. That is discouraged these days in an effort to keep the Canada geese from flocking to the lakes.

In high school, our son would spend long, summer evenings fishing out the creek, at various lakes or at the Pike Island Locks and Dam with treasured friends. I can’t recall him coming home with much more than some tall tales of the big ones that got away. But it was something that brought him and his friends joy. He wrote an essay about night fishing on the river with his best friend that earned him a $1,000 college scholarship from a national wildlife organization. Imagine receiving $1,000 because you love fishing on a river in West Virginia with your best friend.

We knew he would place a fishing pole — a pink one at that — into the hands of our granddaughter as soon as she could walk. She, and now our grandson, have earned seats next to their parents at their favorite fishing stream. I hope it’s a family tradition they will carry into another generation.

This weekend is Father’s Day and if you are fishing for a gift idea, Cabela’s and other local sporting goods stores can direct you to a new rod and reel, bait bucket and a guarantee of good times ahead. It’s not about the fish or bragging rights. It’s about spending time with those you love while learning sportsmanship, a bit of skill and maybe hearing a story or two about when your dad was a kid.

Happy Father’s Day!

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