by Mark Littleton
My son Luke, used to be my fishing partner. I got him started
fly-fishing when he was 10. For the next 6 years we fished a lot
together. I've always thought that this was a great father-son event.
We even took a few fishing/camping trips together without the girls.
I think he liked it. I know that I thought it was as good as it
gets. There is nothing like having a boy to fish with, especially
one that never whines or complains and that always seemed to be
in a good humor.
You get to start from scratch when you are teaching a boy to fish.
There are no bad habits to break and no preconceived notions. Your
knowledge of fishing goes unchallenged (a rare thing). They learn
fast and it is very satisfying to watch.
When Luke turned 16 his life suddenly got a whole lot more interesting.
He had his license and a car, and those fishing trips with old dad
started to seem a lot less exciting. There were now other options
to consider. Flyfishing is a fascinating sport and, while it has
a certain rhythm to it, it is rarely fast paced. A young man in
his teens tends to be more interested in things that make your heart
beat faster, not things that make you feel more relaxed.
Once in a great while, I will lay a guilt trip on Luke to get
him to fish with me. I'll say something like "some day you will
look back and wish you had fished with me more". Although I am pretty
sure this is true, I don't like to do this often.
For quite a while after Luke stopped fishing with me, I fished
alone most of the time. Fishing alone does have its advantages,
it's quiet and you don't have to share your stretch of the river
with anyone. You can usually catch more fish when you fish alone.
The down side is that you don't have anyone to show the big one
to, and the laugh therapy is missing.
Eventually I found some other flyfishermen that I was compatible
with and I don't fish alone as much as I used to. Fishing with full-grown
men (Randal and Chris are overgrown by most standards) provides
some advantages over fishing with your son. The language tends to
be more colorful and the topics of conversations more wide-ranging.
At times these guys make me laugh until I can't stand up.
When Luke gets older, he might come to appreciate some of the
things that I like about flyfishing a little more and come back
to it. At least I hope he does. As much as I like to flyfish with
my pals, I would still like to have some more fishing trips with