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Father's Day Memories: Fishing with Dad

The older I get the more precious memories of cane-pole fishing as a kid become.

Father's Day Memories: Fishing with Dad
Roger Stover reflects on his childhood memories of fishing with his father, also named Roger.
  • Submitted to Florida Sportsman by reader Roger Stover

Something I have realized as of late, is the older we get the more precious the memories we hold in our hippocampus become.

A great number of these poignant memories were generated by my father in my early years. I was lucky in the fact that he was ever present in my life.

My father was an owner of a large citrus growers partnership with two other gentlemen who were also pillars in the lives of their children. My life's luck continued being born into a family whose father loved being outdoors and especially with a line in the water.

He single-handedly helped control the fish populations in a lot of the lakes in Central Florida. Bass fishing was his passion and he had little trouble filling the old metal-clip stringers back in the 30’s and 40’s when bass were plentiful and the state of Florida was the Mt. Everest for anglers.

As soon as I was old enough to hold a cane pole, I was included in the passionate pursuit of line-pullers.

The fishing outing that pushes my memory button the most was actually a saltwater adventure when I was about 12 years old. One of Dad’s partners had a house way south on Merritt Island where it gets real skinny. On occasions, he would invite a large number of friends and acquaintances for a night of fishing, card playing and libations.

Needless to say at age 12, fishing was my choice.

On that lot with his house he had a large dock on the Banana River. Across the street, he had another dock on the Indian River. Both docks had large flood lights capable of pouring many watts of light to the rivers below.

When night's darkness came and the lights came on, it was like a giant nautical dinner bell had been rung. Cane poles were the preferred choice of the anglers for simplicity. It was just hook a shrimp on and drop it at the edge of the lighted circles and hang on.

Stout mono lines were used on the poles to allow hauling the trout over the docks top rails. The combination of two docks on two rivers, the intense flood lights and the countless buckets of tail-flipping shrimp produced catches of trout that were beyond belief.

As I remember, most all of the trout caught looked to be from the same fry school. Big, fat, healthy trout were the norm back then in the 60’s.

In the morning, a portion of the nights harvest was retrieved from large frosty metal wash tubes, cleaned and prepped for the hot oil. Scrambles eggs, fried trout, and cheese grits made it all worth while for us wary sleepless anglers. Daddy was also very adept in the kitchen.

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Memories are moments of joyful thinking, but to be able to turn the years back when fishing and fish weren’t under such pressures would be sheer bliss. I don’t think I thanked my father enough for all the fishing memories and lessons of life he left me.




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