|Father and son activities create memories.|
Father’s Day always brings back memories of my Dad.
Honestly, I don’t remember a gift or a card, but I do remember my dad.
Although my father passed away when I was in my early twenties,, thinking of Father’s Day still brings fond memories of the many good times we had in the outdoors, and the things I learned from dad.
He primarily was a fisherman. He hunted, but back in those days, the hunting was limited where I grew up in East Central Illinois. There were squirrels and rabbits, but no deer or turkey.
Like most people those days, my dad was a live bait fisherman. He had a few old plugs in a metal box he used for tackle, but I don’t remember him ever using them. He did have a casting rod with a reel containing linen fishing line. However, most of our fishing was limited to cane poles. We did morel mushroom hunt.
During my pre-teen years, we didn’t have a car or truck. Our transportation was our feet. I remember walking several blocks to the Big Four railroad track, and then proceeding a couple miles north to where a railroad bridge crossed Big Creek. There usually were deep pools in the creek around the bridge, and that’s where we fished.
It often was a hot walk to the creek, but trees lined the bank and it was refreshingly cool when we arrived. We rarely caught big fish; mostly, bluegill and sunfish. But after we carried them back home, they made a tasty meal, cooked by mother, who also usually walked to the creek with us.
Sometime around my 10th or 12th birthday, my folks gathered enough money for a down payment on a used Studebaker pickup (yes, Studebaker made one). . That red truck changed our fishing horizons, we could venture to the backwaters of Wabash River, the Embrass River, and several farm ponds. That also meant we could catch catfish.
A prized bait was catalpa worms. My job was to help pick the ugly worms off catalpa tree leaves during the brief period of the summer when they were available. My dad thought they among the best baits for catfish. He also used chicken livers, night crawlers and cheese stink baits. He raised the night crawlers himself. One of the key components in the earth mix where he raised the crawlers was coffee grounds.
Dad had a special recipe for dough balls he used to catch carp. We didn’t fish for carp a lot, but when we caught small ones during early spring in clear water, they were pretty good eating. The secret ingredient in dad’s dough balls was strawberry jello,
The old Studebaker also brought about our first fishing vacation. It was a week at Freeman Lake in north central Indiana. We stayed in a little cabin, complete with a boat and small motor. The boat was just what we needed to put out trot lines. The lines contained as many as 50 hooks and primarily were baited for catfish.
We had good luck and hooked plenty of channel cats. My dad let me run the lines with him several times a day. It was fun to hold the heavy line and feel the cats hooked somewhere ahead tug and pull. I would lean over and hold the big line, while dad netted the fish, and took them off the line.
Fortunately, I have a wealth of fond memories of fishing with dad.