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Thanks Dad
A Fatherís Day Tribute
By: Douglas Detherow

It all starts out as quite a simple yet memorable event. My first recollections of caring about fishing, though now clouded somewhat, are tied to running out to the end of the driveway after waiting for what seemed like hours to meet my dadís truck to see what he had caught after a day on the water. It really didnít matter what he had on the stringer, I would jump up on the side board reach in and pull it out for a thorough inspection. Those fish were the coolest things in the world. I couldnít of been any more than 3 or 4 years old at the time, and I remember asking more questions than he seemed to want to answer, but most of all I remember wishing I could of went with him.

On Saturday mornings at our house, if dad wasnít out fishing, cartoons were secondary. I would always get up extra early and wake him up to see if it was time for the fishing shows to start. Jimmy Houston, Outdoor Oklahoma, Joe Krieger and Wanda Scott started at 7A.M. so I was in there jerking on his blanket by 6 to make sure that we didnít miss them. He usually resisted and grumbled a little, but he always got up leaving mom and my two brothers sound asleep. It was our time. The best time. It is time we still enjoy together when we get the chance. After the shows were over I would start in on him. ďDad, can we go fishing?ĒÖ.ĒPLEASE???ĒÖÖĒDad, Come on!! PLEASE???Ē

If he headed for the closet, I knew the answer was yes. By the time he was ready, I would already have my pole, one of his poles, the tackle box, a shovel, and a coffee can ready to go to the pond. There was a place behind the tool shed, where the garden once was, that we could always dig enough worms for the morningís festivities. I remember being frustrated because he always made me leave my bobber setting out in the water waiting for a bite while he got to cast his and then retrieve his lure immediately. I didnít know it at the time, but he was trying to catch one of the many big bass that swam in our pond and he was keeping me quiet and entertained with the quick bites of the perch. Now that I have kids of my own I laugh every time they question me about doing the same thing to them.

The success stories of fathers and sons fishing together are quite remarkable when one steps back and looks at the tournament results from across the state. Just this weekend the Skeeter tournament was won by a father and son team. Steve and Steven Dowty crushed the rest of the field by more than a two pound margin to claim the $10,000 first prize. According to the Skeeter tournament Director, this is the third time in the four tournaments that have been held this year that a father and son team has won! That is an impressive fact when considering that those kind of family pairs make up a very small percentage of the total number of teams entered.

The last two state tournaments have been won by father and son teams. In 2001 Larry and Rob smith of Coweta were crowned State Champions. In 2002 it was the Hortonís that brought home the prize. Who will be next? I have a prediction that wonít surprise any of you. Ever heard of the Butcherís from Talala?? The two Terryís have been one of the most consistent teams in the state since Iíve been competing. I have no idea how many trucks and boats theyíve gathered up over the past couple of years, but Iíd venture to say more than most of us will ever win over our entire careers. It has been truly amazing.

There is definatly something to thisÖthe numbers donít lie. But what could it be?? I know itís not all the tips Joe and Hot Wanda shared with their viewers cause Iím still trying many of those. Really, to find the answer, all one has to do is spend a day on the water with dad. While fishing with your dad, you donít have to worry about giving up your favorite holes because he showed them to you. You fish great together because heís the one that taught you how. When youíre fishing with dad, you just relax and enjoy the day not worrying about the competition because you always win when youíre lucky enough to share the boat with him. The only thing Iíve learned that is better than a day on the water with my father is a day on the water with my son. If you manage to combine the two, cherish the moments as they donít happen nearly often enough. Whether it is bobbers and worms or high level tournament competition, no partner you ever have in your life will improve your experience or appreciate your involvement more than they do.

Without him taking the time all of those many years ago, what would we all be doing today? Golfing?? I canít imagine what I would do with all of the extra time and money I would have. I shudder to even think of it. Our dads passed to us a uniquely special gift that their dads probably passed to them, a gift to be enjoyed and shared over the entire course of our lives. In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts to be givenÖ.the love of fishing.

Love Ya Pops!

Thank You and