Gone Fishing: A Father’s Day Story

By Stephanie Blok
June 11, 2018

My dad taught me an insatiable love of the outdoors, including fishing and boating.  I’m proud that as a grandmother of four at the ripe old age of 60+ I still have my boating license. I tease my husband, who I met at the age of 17, that he hit the jackpot by marrying a girl who already owned a boat! There are few things better than being out on the water.

Nearly every Saturday morning at the first hint of dawn, and for the better part of five years, my dad and I would load a johnboat into the Everglades in proverbial hunt of largemouth bass.

We were often accompanied by Larry, my dad’s paraplegic friend, who had no fear because of my dad’s steady presence on the water. We did tip on one occasion and fortunately, my dad, being a diver for the City of Oakland Park, knew how to get Larry safely to shore. Even that incident did not deter Larry from going out fishing again.

The pictures below depict an especially memorable fishing trip because instead of going to the Everglades, we went fishing off the bridge over the Hillsborough Inlet. I snagged a prized large snook, but at the age of eight, was really struggling to hold onto the rod to reel in my catch.

I begged my dad for help, but he declined.  Instead, he continued to cheerlead behind the scenes and instruct me how to land the fish on my own. I ran down the oversized bridge and onto the embankment, and as you can see from these photos, landed my catch. I was one proud girl!!

Some mornings we would have a sumptuous catch with more bass than I could even count. Other mornings we were bereft of anything other than a few nibbles on an otherwise empty line. But I learned how to fish, and fish well, and more importantly gained a lifelong love of those tranquil mornings out on the water, where I absorbed lessons larger than life including how important it was to have a family.

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