Dad’s special day has angler hooked on a special feeling

John Liechty

June 16 was a holiday that is fairly new to me. Yes, I have always honored my dad on this given date, but to be the honoree is quite a treat.

The morning started off perfect, and I was treated to a delicious breakfast and my favorite spicy morning cocktail. My family and I enjoyed the much-needed break in our schedule, and watched movies while sharing some priceless time together. After indulging in greatness, it only made sense to have a midday siesta while my daughter took her afternoon nap. Once we were all rested, it was time for some afternoon fun.

We chose to leave the heat of Angels Camp and head up to the pines where I grew up. On our way to White Pines Lake, we stopped at Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods to pay my father a visit and wish him a happy day as well. This is where we purchased the best gift ever, and it wasn’t for me.

With an excellent assortment to choose from, we narrowed it down to “Frozen” or “Tangled.” After just a few seconds of contemplation, “Tangled” was the winner. It was my daughter’s first fishing pole. We left the store elated, and I believe that I quite possibly was more excited than her.

With my daughter just over the age of 2, my wife and I decided her first lessons in casting would be best without a hook. We arrived at the lake and did what any good parents should do first, and that’s to hit up the park and swing, slide and climb for a while. Now that some energy had been burnt, we were off to the water’s edge to play with our new pole.

It didn’t take long for my daughter to fall in love with the idea of casting into the water and reeling in the hookless lure. As a proud father, I spent time with her to teach the basics, but more importantly, I just let her play. My goal is to allow her to fall in love with the act of fishing before we actually try to catch anything. That way, when they aren’t biting, it is just as fun as when they are.

Before leaving the lake, we scouted out areas that were holding some smaller sunfish. There is definitely going to be a part two to this story. And if everything goes right, we will get back out this next week with the goal of catching her first fish. 

John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932 or


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