I grew up fishing in wet tennis shoes. In my family, there were no waders, aqua socks, or water sandals. I fished in the same shoes I wore to school and church, and doubled as my basketball and skateboard shoes. They were usually Vans.
Yesterday, I found myself traipsing through Colorado waterways in my Adidas, as my son and I spent 12 hours fly-fishing. It was great. The sand, gravel, chill, and sure footing were like old friends. I was surprised by how quickly I grew fond to my old style of fishing, after 20 years of wearing waders and boots.
The moment of nostalgic truth came when I put on my wet shoes after a short break in the car. The cold, familiar feeling brought me back to fishing with my Dad during hot summers in the Northern California. We used lures…Panther Martins and Super Dupers. We killed what we caught and we cooked our bounty in Ritz crackers and butter over a campfire. Good times.
Even though my fishing equipment is now expensive, and I only practice catch and release, and I study fishing more than I actually fish…I really enjoyed fishing in my shoes. The simplicity and organic nature of the act reminded me of why I like to fish…it’s not about catching fish. It’s about having wet feet in God’s nature, spending time with loved ones, and focusing on the where the next fish will rise.
So, on this Father’s Day, I want to say thank you to my Dad for providing the material for today’s memory. You are a great Father and fisherman. I hope to be the same.
And in case anybody wondered, I wore the same Adidas to church this morning. While they may have been dry, there was still a bit of sand inside, and feeling it made me smile.