My dad started fishing as s child growing up in North Africa. One of his uncles was a passionate angler, and introduced him to sport fishing somewhere around the age of five years old. They fished saltwater, mainly from the shore or piers, for various Mediterranean species consumed as table fare.
Though I don't know much about the Tunisian sport fishing scene in 1935, I do know that their tactics were crude, if not ancient by modern day standards. Their targets species were small enough to avoid the use of reels, which most likely weren't readily available or affordable to most people back then. My father mentioned using breadballs dipped in fish juice to catch mullets and porgies.
After moving to Canada in 1958, my dad took up freshwater fishing. He fished quite often for most of his single life here, until marrying my mother in 1972. He fished many of the same waterways as I do, often from his small 16 foot boat equipped with a 9.9 hp Evinrude. No fancy electronics of gear back then, and for the most part, he used live bait rigs fished either on bottom or under bobbers. Live minnows, fresh caught worms, and occasionally frogs or crayfish if he found them at the local bait shops.
Though he caught many of the various species found in Quebec and Southern Ontario, his passion was for bass, and especially smallmouth bass. He told of many campfire fishing tales of his exploits, his eyes twinkling with good memories. Like many fishing tales, the fish seemed to grow bigger every time the story was repeated.
Once my dad got married, he sold his boat and significantly reduced the amount of time he spent fishing, opting to spend time with his new bride, my mother. I came along less than one year later. Being the firstborn son, I was to be introduced to sport fishing by him a few years later.
My first memories of fishing with my father were back when I was a young child. I vaguely remember him baiting our lines with live minnows bought just outside the entrance to the Long Sault Parkway, one of his favorite shore fishing spots. I also remember him taking me worm hunting with red flashlights on the nights before outings. I remember catching some perch on the baited lines, but they were far and few in between hooking rocks on bottom and massive bird's nest tangles that mono line created in the hands of an inexperienced kid like myself.
Eventually, he introduced me to fishing lures, tying on a small red and white wooden Jitterbug. In addition to having me practice my casting, I was no longer worried about hooking bottom, nor getting fowled up in weeds. I still remember my first topwater fish, as if it were yesterday. I was casting shallow along a steep rock bank at the Mille Roches section of the Long Sault parkway. As usual, I watched my lure to try to make sure my retrieve was giving the crawling / gurgling action my dad suggested I maintain while retrieving the lure. In the gin clear water, I could see a smallmouth bass rise and chase my lure before exploding and crushing it at the surface. Not a big bass, it probably measured in the 10 to 12 inch range. But likely one of the most memorable bass I've caught over the 40 some years since then.
As a child growing up in Jewish school, we attended 6 days a week. Saturday was our day off school, but as orthodox Jews, it is forbidden for us to fish on the Shabbat. Instead, we spent it at the synagogue. Basically, we didn't have too much opportunity to fish during the 10 months of the school year, except for a few days off school during spring and fall holidays. Summers were better, if we weren't away at sleep way camp, we got to fish with my dad on Sunday's, as he had a tight weekday work schedule.
I have fond memories of saltwater fishing with my father on a few occasions while visiting Florida. We didn't have much cash to lay out for private charters, so we opted to fish either from party boats or piers. Not much fish landed most of the time, but he did manage a nice kingfish and some bonitas on one such outing.
Once my brother and I hit adulthood, it was out turn to re-introduce him to fishing. Equipped with much of the same gear we used as kids, he rediscovered his passion for the sport through us, and my children as well.
Between trips on my small boat during the 2006-2009 period, and our yearly family bass fishing trips from 2005, until he was no longer to fish with us due to physical limitations around 2015, he enjoyed what turned out to be some of his best bass fishing days, especially for largemouth bass, which he hadn't targeted much earlier on in his heyday.
Though snapping digital pics is quite easy these days, earlier on, before we even had disposable cameras, shooting fishing pics was quite the ordeal. My dad loved photography, and as such, had a fancy Canon that required manually adjusting everything from focus, speed, light, etc. Which made for tough fishing photography. As such, we have very few fishing pics from that era.
I will have to go through old family pics to find earlier fishing pics with my dad, which I'll add here once I find them.
In more recent times, I got some nice of my own shots of him fishing with the family:
Shore fishing with his boys:
Some of the many nice catches on my 14 foot boat a bit over a decade ago:
And of course, many great moments during our week long family trips to Mijocama outfitter every summer.
Fittingly, my father was with us when I recited what was likely the first Kaddish ever recited at Mijocama about a decade ago, as it requires a quorum of 10 Jewish adults praying in unison.
God willing, I'll be reciting it there again for Him this summer.
I know that part of him will remain with me for the rest of my days, and every time I fish, he'll be there in spirit.