I had an opportunity to fish again with kayak angler Mike Whitacre, who hadn’t been doing much fishing lately, the demands of life and family being what they are. Mike’s a hell of a nice guy and a very good photographer, so when I got his invite to fish, I gladly accepted. We planned to hit a small lake on the outskirts of Fort Worth, one that I knew was a favorite of his, not only because it routinely produces five pound bass, but also because it was a favorite destination for some of his fondest fishing trips with his now 21-year old daughter, Katelynn.
A few days later, I shadowed Mike around the lake, fishing the grass-lines and stumps, hoping to put a hurt on some bass. At one point we came to a rip-rap covered causeway that had a stump-lined, rocky bank off to one side. While sitting in our kayaks working the trees, Mike recounted the story of his last kayak fishing trip with Katelynn on this same lake, one they took only three weeks before her wedding in July. He wanted to shoot some photos and video of his daughter on what would be there last fishing trip together before her wedding.
Mike mentioned how they fished the same points and stumps that we now stalked, but that it got windy on them, and how Katelynn decided to fish from the bank instead. Having raised her, Mike recognized the look on her face and knew there was no stopping his daughter, so he beached his kayak too, grabbed his camera and followed her. This would be the last time she’d be fishing with him before exchanging wedding vows with her husband, and if that meant abandoning a comfortable kayak for a rocky bank, so be it.
He followed her around the bank, filming her as she pitched a frog between the stumps. As it turned out, she did just fine on the bank, and, with Mike filming her, caught a nice top water largemouth. I can only imagine the look on his face as she reeled in the fish, and I’m sure Mike was savoring the moment, but it had to be somewhat bittersweet. Mike’s young fishing buddy was grown now and soon she’d be leaving home to start a new life with another man. Things might never be the same between them, but for now she was on the lake, fishing one last time with her daddy, and that was alright by him.
The resulting video, which Mike titled, “Not really about fishing, but…” was a tribute to his daughter, who did marry her fiancé three weeks after that windy day on the bank. He incorporated some older video from previous trips with stills and video from that day–and the result is a touching piece that I thought nicely captured the spirit of father/daughter fishing.
Lone Star Chronicles – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Fish