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  • Writer's pictureSeth King

My Dad and Me

I remember being a small boy and longing for the week my dad's side of the family would get together for Christmas. It was a family tradition. My Grandaddy would rent a bunk house cabin for a few nights in a new state park every year. I felt as if every year was a new adventure! We didn't have much to do other than play spades and run around outside with our imagination. Truthfully, a lot of kids miss out on this environment- that is a conversation for another time!

After my Grandaddy passed away, my family decided to continue the efforts by renting a massive house in various locations toward the end of the summer. Last year was the first year everyone gathered. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it. Being a pastor makes weekend traveling difficult. Someone has to work on Sundays! Missing out wasn't fun. I made a point to attend this year. Caroline had to stay back to work so I began the 4 hour road trip by myself through the mountains of North Georgia, ending up in the really cool town of Dahlonega, Georgia!

You know me. Everywhere I travel, I study the fishing scene. North Georgia is a hub for some of the most amazing streams and water ways in the south. Knowing how much access we had, I decided to take dad on a little adventure.

Wake up time was 6am. After researching the surrounding area and talking to a few locals, I decided one specific creek was our best bet. Apparently th fishing isn't bad yet receives a ton of traffic regularly. This creek is stocked every month with trout, particularly brown trout. From where we were staying it was about a 30 minute drive through the winding roads of the foothills. We passed beautiful mountains, massive farm lands, and stunning properties. Eventually our road turned into a gravel path which would lead us to one of the most peaceful scenes I had ever stepped foot in. As we parked, set our rod up, and prepared to hike, we encountered a small path that would lead us to the water. Through the trees, you could hear the small roar of the falls. As we got to the edge of the path, rocks would begin to lead the way as we traversed down into a picture perfect stream.

The water was crystal clear. The trout were spooky. We worked our way down stream hoping to cast back into the small pools from below. This was to initially keep from scaring the fish. It also provided us with the ability to ghost cast behind us without the fear of getting hung! After I casted a few times, fished a few holes, and had absolutely zero luck, I decided to make my way back towards dad to hand the rod over and teach him how to cast.

If you have never casted a fly rod before, it takes a while to get used to loading that line up and presenting the fly accurately. I stood out in our neighborhood road for days before I even hit the water. It takes a ton of repetition and practice. My dad was a natural. Was he perfect? No. That wasn't expected. What helped my dad effectively cast well was his ability to be coachable! It was so funny. After years and years of being coached by my dad, in this moment, the roles were reversed. As his cast got longer, it became more accurate. I ended up taking the little clouser off and putting on a small black top water bug. All around the water were these small little black water bugs with really long legs. Attempting to match the hatch, we quickly switched flies around. As dad was stripping in his line, he began to yell, "Look, look! You see it following!"

Right behind the fly was a little brown trout filled with a lot of curiosity. Once dad pulled the fly out of the water, he darted off into the deeper end of the pool. Dad handed the fly rod over to me and I began turning the fly over in a pool about 5 feet wide. The next 10 minutes were a blast! The trout couldn't take my fly to save it's life, but it sure was trying it's hardest to! Watching it hit the top water was thrilling. I love seeing the fish strike and turning to see my dad lit up with excitement. I will never forget these moments...

Although we gave it a go and fished it hard, we never landed one. We decided to work our way back up to the pool by the falls hoping to see some action. We now know there are fish, but can we rip them? As we creeped up along the side, we were uterally shocked to see what we were witnessing. Just off the rock line were a few trout feeding on the top water! I had only ever seen anything like this on movies and shows. They were beautiful. It was like watching a slow motion trout fishing episode that Orvis would put out. We tied on that black fly and gave it a whirl.

The picture above shows exactly what we were dealing with. These trout were beautiful! The problem was not us, but that they were constantly pressured. They get fished all the time. Below is a video of my fly drifting right over the nose of a brown... It lifts it's head to simply say, "nah, I'm good!"

All we could do was just laugh... I knew the local said they were pressured, but we couldn't help wonder why since we were the only people around in sight! (Side bar: we actually brought our whole family back to this creek so that the kids could play in the water. When we arrived, not only were there multiple fishermen, but there were 100+ people with their families who had the same idea we did...) In the end, this didn't define our success. What did were the conversations in the car and on the water. Living five hours away, dad and I rarely get time like this together. It was everything I needed and more. We talked about our jobs, our families, our marriages, and the blessings found in all of them. It was a chance to talk about the hard things in a welcoming fashion backed by 100% support. I am an only son. I am sure this plays a factor in our relationship. But I have got to tell you, it really is special.

Proverbs 23:22a "Listen to your father, who gave you life..."

Proverbs 4:11-12 "I will guide you in the way of wisdom, and I will lead you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble."

Sure, life is a bit different these days. I am about to be a father. My dad's new name is pops. Our family is spread our everywhere! This was very eye opening during this trip. Every aunt, uncle, and cousin has had years of life pass by. We have all had our hardships. We all have had our struggles. However, we all have one thing in common if we choose to trust truth-

We are family.

Not just by blood, but by His blood.

This is what makes my time with my dad so special. He wasn't perfect. (Although I think he's pretty close!) He was a great representation of my Heavenly Father. Time with him was one of the best parts of that weekend. It has challenged me in more ways than I can count. I look forward to the day he advises me as I seek to listen to him during my own journey of fatherhood. But until then...

As father and son....

We will continue to love each other as we go.

Special s/o to my dad, my coach, my best friend, Vince King.

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