Is that a golf ball in your pocket, or are you just happy to be fishing…

I’ve tried my best to interest my son in fly fishing, thinking it was something we could enjoy together and an avocation I could pass down the family line. When there was some interest and eagerness early on, I bought him an Orvis 6 weight rod and reel outfit, a vest, waders, and took him on a few trips but after only a few ventures out, I could tell he just didn’t have “the passion”.  All of you die-hards know what I’m talking about – the mojo, moxy, and absolute drive to excel in something so much that time itself stads still.  Chris does, thankfully, fish with me at the shore on the party boats out of Barnegat Inlet for blues, fluke, and stripers.  It’s a tradition thing mostly, a father-son “bonding” event, if you will.  But at his age, if I had a backyard pond stocked with hungry bass, as exists now just 100 yards out the back door of STFF headquarters, I’d be bank-side every evening.  Chris has yet to wet a line there.

My wife and I have stood by him in his search for a hobby that would capture his mind and heart, one that would make use of his abundant talents, and possibly turn into a labor of love.  There was guitar, lacrosse, paintball, biking, and wrestling, but all of these things were like tossing gas on a fire, producing white-hot flames that burned out fast and left no enduring embers.  And then along came golf…

Chris picked up a driver like he did a fly rod, and in no time was clipping balls 225 yards.  He has natural talent of which most of us can only dream.  I remember once casting a new rod on the lawn of a local fly shop with him, back when I was trying to cuddle him up to the sport.  The owner bluntly told me that my son, at 13, cast better than I did, 10+ years into the game.

The hills of Apalachin - from the front 9...

The hills of Apalachin - from the front 9...

So this past April we bought him a junior membership at a public course just a few hills over from where we live and ever since he started the “good walk spoiled”, a funny thing happened – I found golf balls wherever I fished.  It began with our pond, which wasn’t too surprising since Chris is constantly practicing on the lawn under our #1 ground rule, “away from the house – toward the pond”.  I’d paddle out on the pond and in the shallows, WAY down from where he’d tee off, see these white things down on the pond bottom.  Once I was fishing in the stillness of the evening, casting poppers, and nearly jumped out of the kayak when a big bass exploded only feet away.  Later, having returned from my back-yard expedition, a smiling Chris asked me how I liked his driving.

He could have been a fly fishing contenda...

He could have been a fly fishing 'contendah'...

But soon after that, more golf balls appeared in remote and very un-golflike places.  I found one in the upper Susquehanna River near Windsor where the river is secluded in deep woods and vast tracts of farmland.  I found another in the Chemung, downstream from the towering dikes that shoulder the river from the town of Athens.  I found still more in the Tioughnioga and the lower Susquehanna, and most recently, of all places, in Cayuta Creek.

Going for birdie...

Going for birdie...

I would bring them back, every one of them, as proof…

Fresh from the cool mountain springs of Cayuta Creek...

Fresh from the cool mountain springs of Cayuta Creek...

Serendipity?  Chance?  Divine intervention?  Could it be the Big Man’s way of tying the seemingly disparate fires burning deep within us together?  I’ve pondered this at length, concluding that, chance discovery or bread crumbs from above, it is indeed a sign that these two great avocations can be shared over the years.  Next time Chris hits the links I think I’ll throw my 8 weight in the back of the golf cart.  There just have to be some real hawg bass in those beautiful water obstacles…

Tight lines…

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7 Responses to “Is that a golf ball in your pocket, or are you just happy to be fishing…”

  1. I tried to get my son into golf and he took up fishing.

    Dr. B

    drtombibey.wordpress.com

    • stflyfisher Says:

      Dr. B – thanks for stopping by and for adding your comment. Isn’t is funny how things work out between fathers and sons!

  2. Senior STFF Support Staff Says:

    Good story Bob. You should try golfing sometime with Chris, you can use my clubs. You may find your second love?

  3. stflyfisher Says:

    Hi Dan – I’ve golfed once with Chris – as his cart driver, stogey in hand! I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play, but I’m afraid it’s just not my game…

  4. Bob,

    I tried getting my son into fly fishing too–didn’t happen. He took to baseball instead. I didn’t start finding baseballs all over though. He does bird hunt with me, so that’s good.

  5. John Dwyer Says:

    I guess I must be the LUCKY ONE as I have 3 boys and they all FLY FISH and play GOLF just like me.

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