If someone had asked me in grade school what my dad did, I would probably have told them that my dad is a fisherman. I didn’t know what he did for work, but I did know that he was a fisherman in his free time. It was his favorite pastime, and he was really good at it. He didn’t much go for worm fishing, and he certainly was never big on plopping the line in the water and sitting back waiting for the line to pull. Dad was a fly fisher.
He loved fishing the rivers, outsmarting the fish using strategy and skill rather than passive chance. With fly fishing on a river, the fisher must cast the line upstream, getting the fly to float unsuspectingly over the best part of the fishing hole.
Dad also tied his own flies. This was itself quite a skill, as it took the most precise thread-work. He had a cool fly-tying kit, as well as materials for making flies, such as threads, feathers, animal fur, or whatever was necessary for the desired effect. The idea is to emulate as close as possible the look of a real fly. I remember him making Cadiss flies, Mayflies, and even ants and grasshoppers.
I remember one particular fishing trip when I was young where we went to a lake, and though we could see that there were fish in the water, we couldn’t get them to bite. They would get close to the fly, then lose interest and swim away. After the better part of a day of this, Dad succeeded in catching one. He opened it up to see what the fish here were used to eating, and we were surprised to find its stomach entirely full of ants! Well, Dad got out a couple of his tied Ants, and for the rest of the day we caught numerous fish without difficulty!
Dad used to take my older brother and me on fishing trips with Grampa Hathaway and Uncle Dave. These trips were always one of the highlights of my summer. We would go to rivers, lakes, or anywhere there was a good fishing spot.
One time we were fishing along a river, and Dad and I got to a point where the edge of the mountain nearly met the river. With just enough room to walk single-file through bushes and tree branches, Dad scouted ahead to see if it was a safe route to the other side of the edge. I waited patiently, deciding whether or not to venture in after him. Suddenly he came bursting through the bushes shouting, “Ouch! Run! Ouch!”
Of course I turned and ran for my life. Was Dad getting attacked by a bear? I had heard stories of bears in Utah, and I wasn’t excited to meet one. Not up close, anyway.
When we got a safe distance, Dad said, “I bumped a hornets next, and they attacked!” To me, hornets were one of the only things more frightening than a bear. We found a different route – far from hornets.
For my siblings and I, dad has always been the one who most faithfully encouraged us in our interests and talents, providing us with whatever resources we needed to do what we love. He has also been the first to praise and compliment us on the things we do. He always made sure everyone in the family had what they needed, and his desire for our success has helped each of us pursue our dreams.
Dad taught us the gospel and provided a good example of what it means to hold the priesthood and use it to bless the family. He has always been ready at a moment’s notice to give a blessing whenever we needed it, and he always encouraged us to make righteous choices.