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One need only observe a guys progression of fishing accessories to understand how wrong that meanspirited stereotype really is. A young boy starts his journey on the road to becoming a fisherman with simple, unpretentious gear: a pole, a hook, a worm and maybe a red and white bobber. If hes been taken to the right place, shown the path of true patience and can sit still for more than five minutes without completely losing interest or whipping out his Gameboy, he eventually feels the rod come alive in his tiny hands and with a bit more luck, lands his first fish and receives his first Real Guy Lesson: You catch it, you clean it.
The inescapable lure of accessories, the primitive, well-concealed guy need to have one of everything no matter how arcane, is the only possible explanation for the lifelong transition of that young boy and his simple pole into a grown man with a $12,000 plastic bass boat, several steamer trunks full of lures, lines and flies, specialized rods for every occasion, a wardrobe of fishing attire far more co-ordinated than his "casual" and "business" clothes put together and a special Orvis edition SUV to lug the whole affair around.
Which is not to say this is a bad thing. Fishing, like baseball, is one of those arenas of endeavour where grown men seem able to actually reach out and connect with their children in some meaningful way. At least they can if they manage to hold their frustration in check for longer than 10 minutes. A fishing trip, whether a day or a week, is a time to pass on values, traditions, family lore, misconceptions and just plain wrongheaded notions as well as meaningful life lessons.
This Sunday, Fathers Day, the Whistler Angling Club is holding its first Alta Lake Fishing Derby. Im not sure why fishing contests are called derbies but I guess we can just be happy theyre not called fedoras or Stetsons. Alta Lake is where Alex and Myrtle started this whole weirdness thats become Whistler and fishing was what got it started, so this is not only a chance to do the fishing thing but a shot at getting in touch with our deeper roots.
The action will be happening at Lakeside Park at a fisherman-like hour, which is to say early, and will wrap up in plenty of time to get Dad back home for a nap on the sofa before making a big fuss over him Sunday evening.