Fishing with Dad
by Susan Marie Davniero (Deceased)

man with fishing rod next to someone in boat

In honor of Father’s Day, and in memory of my Dad, Gerard Fischetti

It was on Long Island’s Captree Beach at dawn that summer when my Dad and I went fishing with my two sisters. I flip flopped across the sand, trailing Dad’s swift steps towards the fishing pier, while dragging the fishing pole Dad said I would use. It was the summer when I was 10.

I looked at the peaceful beach that morning in all its beauty…white glistening sand kissed by the soft rising sunlight. It seemed like such a special place just for me and Dad, along with my sisters. I didn’t love fishing but I knew Dad did. In looking back I think that perhaps by joining him on a fishing trip, I was fishing for Dad’s love. I was a child playing “Go Fish” trying to “reel” Dad in.

As we strode down the beach the view before me was of the white flock of seagulls gliding across in the sky, hovering and surveying the coast for food – the scavengers of the beach. I was afraid they would grab our packed lunch of eggs and peppers heroes that Mom had made for us. Fishing was the only time I ate eggs and peppers heroes – I wanted to eat like Dad.

Suddenly we arrived at the fishing pier and set up our fishing gear, joining other fishermen and their children to vie for the biting fish. Although small, I was able to hold onto the fishing pole Dad had personally wrapped in colored fishing tape. I never knew why he did that but I thought the colors looked nice.

Dad caught a flounder and I soon followed with a blowfish, trying again to keep up with his pace. After some catches we called it a lunch break, unwrapped the eggs and peppers heroes, and threw some crumbs in the water to tempt the fish. The day moved on swiftly, and we soon headed home with our catch. Sometimes before leaving at the pier I would even clean some of the blow fish with Dad – although a gruesome chore, I didn’t mind if I was with Dad.

The next summer I joined Dad on a fishing trip again but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t enjoy fishing anymore; reeking of a ‘fishy’ smell and wearing worn shabby fishing clothes. I was growing up, outgrowing fishing and becoming a young lady.

As I walked along the fishing pier beside Dad, I glanced at one of the fishermen’s catch lying on the pier – a flounder with life fading away. It was no longer a “catch” to me but a doomed animal. I cried out, “Daddy, that fish is dying!” Dad became alarmed, and shot a look in my direction trying to hush me. “Susan that’s the point of fishing,” Dad explained with a faint smile. We both knew at that moment my fishing days were over.

I may have stopped fishing, but Dad never stopped loving me. And I stopped fishing for Dad’s love because I realized I had already caught it. Dad’s unconditional love taught me that I didn’t have to do things other people loved in order to get their love. Dad’s love was the catch of my life.


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