by Mark Stephens
“Take an ol’ pal fishing”, this one of those expressions from simpler times that brings up visions of cane poles, row boats, bobbers and pan fish. If you think about it, there was nothing simpler about those times and yet, they were actually more difficult. Our modern day technology and conveniences have definitely made life simpler. It’s the Time we seem to struggle with in our modern life. We don’t always make time for those things that are truly important to us.
Well… I’m slowly learning to do so. I’m making time to “Take an ol’ pal fishing” especially when my ol’ (ok… Old) pal is my 82 year old father. Now, fishing with my Dad is nothing new for me, he has been an avid fisherman for as long as I can remember. In fact, some of my earliest childhood memories are of fishing with him in our 14 foot Starcraft Runabout with the 20 hp Merc engine. But, as I aged my interests shifted (Girls, College, Work, Marriage, Kids… more Work) and our fishing excursions became less and less. It was probably my kids that got me back into the boat with Grandpa and I’m really glad they did. Ironically, at ages 17 & 19 they’ve been suspiciously absent form the boat due to interest shifts for them as well (X-Box360, Girls, College…Avoiding Work!). So now we’re back to the two of us in the boat and it honestly has become a very enjoyable time. Fishing not only provides an opportunity to discuss and learn fishing strategies, baits and riggings but it allows you time to reconnect and really get to know people.
Now….. Don’t get the impression that I’m scoring brownie points by making the day of some feeble old man by taking him fishing. Dad has a whole host of friends he fishes with, like last week when he pimped me for an opportunity to go out with one of those pro’s that have been on T.V. They went for Muskie but that’s a different story. Even at 82 he will occasionally take his boat down to the Grand River to fish for Steelhead by himself. In fact, “who’s taking who” is debatable. In the summer, I’ll take him and his friends out Salmon fishing in Lake Michigan in my 23 footer. We’ll hit the inland lakes and rivers in his 16 foot Lund. Here’s a couple of Steelhead we picked up with his boat the weekend before Thanksgiving. They weighed in at 10.5 and 6.5 lbs.
Note from the editor: Thanks so much Mark for sharing this story with us. I am sure we can all relate in a similar way with someone we know. There are so many things with can learn from an "Ol Pal" that only their experiences can offer and the joy we bring as companionship to an older person can be priceless in return.