The Gift of Fishing – By Jack Lotter – DarkTide Fly Fishing

In honour of Father’s Day, I thought I would relay on here what an incredible gift my Father gave me, and in hindsight gave us both, when I was just around 8 years old. 

Fishing, is so much more than merely pulling in a fish with a bent piece of wire. Fishing is about spending time outdoors, and away from the noise and smoke of “big city life”. It’s about switching off responsibilities, obligations and the commensurate anxiety that is synonymous with them. It’s about early misty mornings and campfire stories, the sights, smells and sounds that are symbiotic with nature and the outdoors, and the nostalgia one musters up when recollecting those memories or recanting them to others who share the same passion as you. 

Chasing our finned adversaries requires thought, strategy, precision and patience. Fishing is as gratifying as much as it is humbling. It is the great equaliser. All of these lessons learnt and the honing of these respective skills to catch fish, are inextricably invaluable to every other facet and dimension of the day-to-day lives we try so hard to escape when we go fishing. 

I had no idea about any of this, when my Father handed me my first fly fishing rod, after getting a stellar report card at school. In fact, I was rather perturbed that he was giving me this “fishing stick” in lieu of a BB gun or the latest Sega Mega Drive game that I was eagerly anticipating. What my dad was really giving me was an opportunity to bond with him in ways I can never express, go to incredible new venues and countries across the world, from chasing weird and wonderful exotic fish species like the toothy Tiger Fish of the Zambezi, to the mighty Tarpon of Cuba and Costa Rica. What my dad really gave me that day was decades of invaluable, precious and treasured time with him that I was yet to experience. A priceless and incomprehensible gift- completely under-valued and unbeknownst to me at the time-that changed my life and inadvertently shaped me into the man I am today. Shaped us both into the men that we are today. 

On these trips we have laughed, we have fought and we have cried. We managed to learn about one another, and intimately test one another’s strengths and idiosyncratic traits to the max. Most importantly however, we created an excuse, the greatest of them all, to put as much distance between the burden of daily living and ourselves, in pursuit of a common endeavour and to do so solely in each other’s company, as possible. 

In honour of Father’s Day, I’d like to say, “Thank you, Dad” for providing the platform and the catalyst to provide the most incredible time we have shared together, and for many more trips to come. Thank you for all those years patiently tying my knots for me, and even more spent pulling flies out of trees. For fielding my endless questions, dealing with me spooking endless fish on river banks and the perpetual energy and patience you had for me as I grew and developed in our favourite past time and now one of my life’s biggest passions. 

If you are a father, and you haven’t considered it yet, I hope you give yourself and your children the gift of fishing, and the time you will spend together embarking in it. It will be the greatest gift they, and you, will ever receive. 

Thank me later, and Happy Father’s Day. 

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