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Remembering Dad

Scott Ferguson

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I know I may told this before, but I think about this a lot, especially at Father's Day.

My dad, who passed away 32 years ago, introduced me to smallmouth fishing when I was only 10. My dad did not take many vacations when we were kids, but he did take a few days off in early summer to go fishing and a few days in the fall to duck hunt. Dad grew up in the Thousand Islands area of the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York and he never missed opening day of bass fishing which was always Father's Day weekend. In 1965, when I was 10, he took me with him for my first fishing trip. We drove all night from Northwest Indiana, through Canada and back into the US at Alexandria Bay NY. I remember the morning when we arrived just after daybreak. The skies were clear, and the sun was bright when I had my first boat ride from the dock in Chippewa Bay out to Oak Island where my Uncle Bill was the caretaker of an estate on the island. Right after we pulled up to the dock, uncle Bill gave me my first rod, a Zebco 202 and a short time later, I caught my first smallie. Dad wasn't a great fisherman, but he knew the spots around the islands where we could find em'. As I recall, about the only artificial lures we used were Abu Reflex spinners. Dad also had a fiberglass fly rod with an automatic fly reel he used to throw poppers with. The upper half of that rod weighed more than an entire graphite rod weighs today. He taught me to row the jon boat my uncle loaned us to keep him in position while he cast the popper along the rocky shorelines. On Sunday at lunch time, we pulled up onto a small island where dad would cook up a shore lunch of smallmouth fried in bacon grease, a can of beans and new potatoes. While he got the fire going, cleaned the fish and cooked, I cast that Abu from shore to add to our catch.
I joined dad for several Father's Day opening days after that until my job kept me from getting the time off. Right around the time I was able to get vacation days, dad got sick and passed away.
Those 4 or 5 days back in 1965 have had more influence on my life than any other in my 59 years. I fell in love with the water, the woods, road trips and smallmouth bass during that short trip. Today, I spend a lot of time working for the ISA, my home is decorated with items that remind me of the St Lawrence River and the Northwoods, and I am always planning my next smallmouth fishing road trip. I will never, as long as I live, forget that trip.
Thanks for the memories dad, I miss you.

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By the time I turned 10 I'd already gone on many fishing trips with my father & uncle Matt who had only one arm,the other lost to a grenade on Iwo Jima.Two of the more memorable were getting 117 perch from Lake M at 12th st at dawn one Sunday after first going to 2am Mass.& 95 bluegills on red worms at Bluff Lake in the Chain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A belated thank you for the post Scott. It's apparent that many, if not most, members of the ISA were introduced to fishing by their fathers - myself included.

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