June 17, 2016
A Father's influence is a constant and historical theme in fishing — most kids are introduced at a very young age by Dad or other caring mentor. For fathers to hand down fishing traditions is almost an ingrained rite when children reach a certain age. Unspoken values -- skill, patience and culture are all undercurrent lessons that you hope come when you hand a kid a fishing pole.
My Dad became an Episcopal minister later in life, but a New England fly fisherman by upbringing, putting a rod in my hand when I could hardly get my fingers around the cork. On a trip to Jackson Hole when I was ten, I caught my first trout in a ranch ditch, dapping flies over likely looking side eddys. We ate 'em, too. He moved us all out to central Wyoming when I was eleven, and Dad, my brothers and I had many fine adventures in the middle of nowhere for years.
Roger Seiders gave his sons and YETI co-founders Roy and Ryan the invaluable gifts of a can-do spirit, love of the outdoors, and dedication to family above all else. Recognizing all these, they have sponsored a series of short videos dedicated to the theme of honoring the role that Dads have in continuing these traditions.
I reviewed and enjoyed all five films, but the piece showcasing guide Hillary Hutcheson's revisiting her father's giving her an outdoor upbringing by teaching him to fly fish in his later years resonated for me. Dave Hutcheson was busy putting bread on the table while Hillary learned that craft that became her profession, and she closes the circle when he reaches retirement.
Twenty five years ago, and at the risk of sounding cliché by even mentioning it here, a major film was released that changed our sport and the public's appreciation of it. Based on an obscure novel at the time, the underlying theme of Father and family may have gotten overlooked by the public with the undeniable romance of fishing in Montana during the first half of the last century. Overquoted, and some would say exploited, the film remains a blueprint for a life on the water that we can thank the Dad's of the world for showing us.
Happy Fathers Day.
"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fisherman, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fisherman on the See of Galilee were fly fisherman and that John, the favorite, was a dry fly fisherman." — Norman MacLean, A River Runs Through it"