It is with somewhat mixed emotions and feelings that I reflect on this coming weekend.
On the one hand it will be Father’s Day Sunday and on the other hand it would have also been the 25th annual Salmon Arm Children’s Fishing Tournament.
I miss my dad. He passed away 25 years ago. I started the derby in his honor.
I think what I miss most about my father are his stories. He loved to tell stories. It always took him twice as long as anyone else to tell a story because he was laughing so hard he was trying to get through it.
I also miss that wonderfully precious laugh – it was contagious to say the least. What I wouldn’t give to hear it again.
I know I certainly miss going fishing with him. He taught me how to fish – how to cast, when and how to set the hook, and how to be patient. I know he was certainly patient with me.
Thinking back to those days long ago, I realize that I must have been driving him half crazy. I mean, I was really a foolish kid who spent most of my time daydreaming.
I have never been so good at school. I think the phrase that teachers used at the time was “I didn’t apply myself enough”. If only they could have seen me when I was fishing.
The only thing my dad was always willing to do for each of our four siblings was give us his time.
He found a way to be interested in what interested us and would set aside time to spend with each of us. He was not a well-educated man, a blacksmith by trade, and yet he had a unique insight into many of life’s mysteries.
He cared enough for his children to devote his life to completing the work he and my mother had started together. My mother passed away almost 60 years ago.
He did pretty well with at least three of the four. And, although I was a little disappointed at times, he never really said it.
One thing I managed to do right was establish the annual Salmon Arm Kids Fishing Tournament.
For 23 years this has been a huge success – in large part for my fellow organizers Donna Flatman and Aly Vann as well as the many volunteers who have helped over the years.
I remember that first year, I didn’t know if anyone would show up. They did and have continued to come in droves every year thereafter.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to cancel the derby last year and again this year.
I would have liked to be able to do the derby again this year, but it was decided to err on the side of caution. Just wait until next year.
In the 23 years that we have organized the derby, I know that I have seen a lot of young fishermen and their families having a lot of fun fishing on the docks of the marine park.
Like I said, the derby was started in honor of my dad who took every kid out there fishing. If a friend of mine or my brother’s wanted to come, he would find room for them in the car.
Looking back, I don’t think he ever really fished himself – he was always too busy baiting hooks, net fishing and making sure no one fell into the water.
Although the derby is held annually on Father’s Day, it is also held in conjunction with the province’s Family Fishing Weekend (June 18-21) where anglers are encouraged to do the fishing. ‘experience and enjoy the sport of fishing without the need to buy a freshwater fishing. Licence.
It turns out that the two coincide. Thousands of children and their families participated in the derby and over $ 100,000 was awarded. I think my dad would be pretty proud.
Derby cancellations aside, things are improving on the COVID-19 front and we are already planning the derby for next year.
In the meantime, there’s no reason families with young anglers can’t go out and spend time together casting a line and maybe even catching fish.
I know the memories of the times my father took me and my brother fishing very dear to my heart. They were simple times but good times. These are also the moments that I think about most often.
Thank you dad for being patient with me even though I was a brainless dreamer who never really applied enough. I miss you.