Great Outdoors columnist James Murray. (File photo)

Great Outdoors columnist James Murray. (File photo)

Column: Learning to be patient just like my old man

Great Outdoors by James Murray

By James Murray

Contributor

As I cranked on the handle of my Johnson Century closed-face fishing reel, the rod tip bent and started vibrating all over the place.

My excitement grew as I played a nice little 10-inch rainbow to the side of the boat. Laughing, my father leaned over the gunnel of our beat-up old Viking aluminum 12-footer, cupped his hand gently under the belly of the fish and held it on the surface of the water for a moment so I could admire my catch. At nine or 10 years old, you tend to be pretty much proud of any fish you catch.

Glancing up at me, he smiled, removed the hook and released it back into the lake.

Earlier in the morning, my father caught and released a couple of real nice ones. Throughout the day I had a number of hits but continued loosing them.

“You gotta be more patient when you set the hook” he’d always tell me.

I will always remember that particular day on the water. There were a number of small lakes about an hour’s drive from our house back then. Not really the kind of lakes that would attract too many other anglers. I mean, you could spend the whole day on one of them without seeing more than one or two other boats – the kind of lakes that seemed to suit my father just fine.

Read more: Column: Catching fish is never just about catching fish

Read more: Column: For fishing trips, better to prepare in advance than be sorry later

“This is a good boat we got here,” I remember him saying to me out of the blue. “It’s heavy. That’s what you need, a good heavy boat that sits well in the water… that doesn’t rock around when you’re trying to bring a fish in.”

Then he would just sit there silent for a while, contemplative like. My father tended to talk in spurts and then sort of drift off somewhere else, to something else that was on his mind.

“Nope, getting old isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” he said after a while. That was the first time my father ever looked old to me – something in his eyes, something in the way he sat there, deep in his own thoughts. I remember wondering what he was thinking. As the years go by, I find myself doing the same thing. Except my dog doesn’t really care whether I talk or not.

I remember even as a kid I was always impressed with how much my old man knew about fishing. He just seemed to have a knack for knowing where the fish would be, when they’d be there, what they’d be feeding on, what insect hatches would be coming off, what size of hook to use and what shade of green. He just seemed to know so much. He seemed to know, almost instinctively, when to set the hook and, more importantly, when to wait just half a second more.

I used to like watching him cast his old Orvis Battenkill cane rod. He could cast that old thing better than I’ll ever be able to cast any of my new high modulus graphite Sages.

Looking back now, I think he caught fish for no other reason than because he knew how to be patient.

He certainly did have patience: patience to wait a fish out, patience to sit back and enjoy just being out on the water, patience to wait for the sun to burn the morning mist off the surface of a lake, and enough patience to take a kid like me fishing. Even a kid who was as impatient as me. I’m still trying to learn how to be patient. The problem is that I have a long way to go and I seem to be growing old in the process, too.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Outdoors and Recreation

Just Posted

A key in the lock of a door. (File photo)
Sicamous residents say lack of long-term rentals detrimental to town

A couple who have lived in Sicamous for 27 years and want to stay might have to leave

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Brodie Stuart and her mom, Mikel Stuart, gather for the celebration at Parkview Elementary on June 18, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Eagle Valley News)
Three Shuswap parents honoured for combined 34 years of volunteering

Parkview Elementary parent advisory council members surprised by appreciative flash mob

Centennial Field in Blind Bay will be the site of Market by the Bay on Thursday nights starting June 24, 2021. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District photo)
Forty vendors expected for new Market by the Bay in the South Shuswap

Market starting June 24 to be situated at Centennial Field in Blind Bay

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to collect donations ahead of Kristy Handel’s 33-kilometre run for Chelaine McInroy (pictured) to cover costs for a new prosthetic leg after her June 12, 2021, surgery. (GoFundMe)
Salmon Arm woman runs to raise funds for friend’s new prosthetic leg

33-kilometre Run for Chelaine to help athlete cover medical costs from latest surgery

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
‘Springsteen on Broadway’ clears way for AstraZeneca recipients to attend show

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Most Read