I have always thought of Father’s Day as one of the holidays manufactured for commercial purposes – though in reality all current holidays, which in Old English were holy days intended for religious observances, are now little more than retail opportunities intended to separate coin from consumer. Thanksgiving is the exception – at least until it completely disappears, given Jon Stewart’s observation that Christmas is eating all the other holidays coming after the Fourth of July.
Father’s Day may not have the fanfare of a Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day – but to those of us who have the role of a father or step-father, it is still a time to anticipate a hug and “I love you”; a greeting card; movie tickets; or in an earlier time, a neck tie – though fewer of us have occasion to own more than one or two, with the primary need for an always dreaded funeral.
So when this Father’s Day approached, I expected a few of the above. It was quite a surprise when my daughter Katherine announced that she and her fiance Ryan wanted to go fly fishing with me. Even more surprising was when my wife Terri said she wanted to go – to that point she had only accompanied me and walked the beach while I fished in the Sound for sea run coastal cutthroat trout.
While I was delighted, the challenge was to pick a location that would serve as a good introduction to the sport. I wanted someplace that no matter the fishing, the location would be its own reward.
There were two other considerations from the perspective of the fishing itself: winds and crowds.
I wanted to avoid anywhere where headwinds would be an issue – even light winds would make it difficult for first-time casters. Sidewinds were also an issue but I could work that unless the wind was blowing stink; that would have aborted the trip. In addition, I wanted to avoid showing up at a smaller beach with a crowd of four fly fishers – with two being rookies.
Finally given that not everyone had waders and wading boots, this was going to be beach casting.
With all those factored in, there was only one place that came to mind: Narrows Beach Park.
The park, with the Narrows Bridge to the left, is always photogenic. There is a good chance to see wildlife on shore and seals in the water. The beach spreads for a couple of miles and I knew we could move away as needed, or others moving to other locations as they desired. I knew that unless salmon were bunching the odds of catching anything were small; given that I’d been skunked there on all but one previous trips.
That meant more a session of fly casting rather than fly fishing. That was its own reward. It was a chance to reflect on how far I’ve come in my own casting by watching a couple of beginners struggle to form loops and get anything approaching an adequate cast.
Not that Terri or Katherine appeared to mind; they both were having a great time. Ryan has a great cast, and this was a chance for him to get back to fly fishing.
This may have been the best Father’s Day in a long time. I hope this starts a new tradition.