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June 17, 2011 / flogginwater

Family Fishing

Today was bittersweet for me – at least a bit. My father – my biological father – and I just got in touch with one another, and actually met for the first time since I was just a few months old – last summer. Without getting into a long, nasty story, I’ll say this – my childhood wasn’t normal, wasn’t what it should have rightfully been, and both he and I got screwed over a bit, he out of his first born son, and I out of my real father and an entire side of my family (which I’ve been slowly getting to know for the past year also).

He moved up to Oregon a bit over a year ago from Tucson, Arizona along with my step mother Rosario, and my two little siblings from him (my little brother Randy Jr. and my little sister Vanessa). He was a jet engine mechanic for the US Air Force and the Air National Guard – he’d originally enlisted before I was born, and has taken 30 years to get his 20 years for retirement in (there was a bit of a break during the Clinton and Bush administrations for him, between Active Duty and Guard service). He’d been working a full time civil service uniformed position for the ANG, and transferred up to the base in Klamath Falls, Oregon in hopes of getting back in touch with me – which did happen. It’s been really great getting to know him, and my “new” family members.

But here’s the bittersweet part. He just retired permanently from the military last week, and he and the family are moving down to Tomball, Texas to help out with a family business that my grandmother and her husband run down there. They have spent the last week up in our area, visiting family before the big move down south. We spent a bit over 8 hours with them yesterday – which was great. I got to play with my little siblings, he got some more grandpa time in with my son, we got to visit more. Great time indeed.

Today, we met up out at the lake (Henry Hagg Lake), for a small family fishing trip. My wife’s parents joined us, and we spent the afternoon soaking up the nice weather, and soaking some jigs for panfish. My step mom & little sis didn’t fish, nor did my wife or her mom. It turned into a boys club on the banks.

I provided all the tackle for today’s trip – my dad’s & brothers rods were packed away in their cargo trailer, ready for the trip to longhorn country. I rigged up some rods for bait fishing, some for jigs. I fished my ultra light 7 foot Okuma, which was spooled with 2lb line before the OFF camping trip a few weeks ago.

The bait-only rods didn’t get much action, so they got switched over to micro jigs & crappie nibbles. Micro jigs & crappie nibbles were THE hot ticket for fish catching – at least on my rod. Sadly, my dad left for Texas smelling of skunk. My little brother (who is 9) got to land a few fish on my rod, as after I got my first two fish, I started handing the rod off to him when I hooked a fish.

They had to cut their visit, and the fishing trip, short today – they had to leave the lake by 5 so they could head back to my great aunt’s house (where they’re staying) to get packed, and get rest since they’re heading out early tomorrow to begin the journey to Tomball.

It was great fishing with them, talking, and just having fun. I can only wonder what family fishing trips could’ve, would’ve been like as a kid with him. It was also really cool to fish with my little brother, even if he didn’t hook his own fish this time.

After my dad & his family left, we stayed at the lake for a while, and I fished with my father in law, which was also nice. It was relaxing – we got some more fat bluegill – pre-spawn females mostly – and some small smallmouth bass. My father in law lost a NICE bass, I’m betting a largemouth, which spit his hook about 10′ from the bank.

For the last half hour or so we were at the lake, I switched up to my 6 weight flyrod, and tossed deer hair bass bugs – smaller ones – in a shallow baylet off the main part of the cove we were fishing. I waded wet out into crotch deep water, staying in the weeds to hide my presence. My hopes were to get some bass on the top water bug – instead I got into a school of BIG bluegill (big enough to eat a #10 deer hair diver completely) which was really cool. It’s been a while since I’ve caught bluegill that were bigger than my hand! After getting 5 of the big bull gills, I got a hit from what I think was a big bass – I say I think, because the hit was violent. It was as if someone was hiding in the brush, and threw a brick onto my fly. When I set the hook, I saw a long, wide greenish silver flash just under the surface, and the fish ran hard & fast for the weeds – where he (or more likely, she) broke me off. 12lb leader, snapped like it wasn’t there.

That particular bug was THE lucky bug – an all white number on a #10 khale bend hook, with grizzly saddle tails, a tuft of marabou, and clipped into the typical Dahlberg Diver shape. After getting broken off I tied on a frog colored bug, similarly tied, and got nothing. I switched up to a red bodied, black tailed diver, and finally got a couple good hits, but missed the hook sets on both. The light changed, the breeze picked up, and the bite was off. It was just as well, it was getting late, and I didn’t want to keep my little man out when it started getting cold. There will be plenty of time for such foolishness when he’s older, and hopefully begging his old man for “one last cast, dad?”

I can’t wait to get down to Texas to visit my dad & his family (and my grandma, step grand father, my great aunt and my cousins down there too) and fish some of the waters down that way. Tomball is close enough to the Texas Hill Country that, if given a long enough vacation, we should be able to make an over night trip that way and get some great fishing in up there. It’s also only about a 2 hour drive to some great saltwater fishing, which is what my dad is really looking forward to do.

I wish they were staying up here, but I know they can’t – so that just means we’ll have to visit one another as much as possible and move forward as best as possible, since reclaiming the last 29 years just can’t happen. Here’s looking forward to it.

One Comment

  1. Simone Gambler / Jan 2 2012 11:59

    A family that fishes together, stays together! So what is he up to, now that he has retired from the military?

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