Having sat patiently with the rest of the audience through my discussion of fly fishing, a man raised his hand at a recent talk about my book in Baltimore and asked, “What about the fatherhood part?”

And he put me on the spot. He caught me avoiding a key subject of the book.

An influential and supportive colleague — certainly a far more accomplished author than I — has told me that he found “the fatherhood part” of “Father’s Day Creek” most compelling. But I find it most difficult to discuss in front of people. I guess that’s to be expected. I guess that’s why, in June 2017, I spent a good week alone, on a porch, writing what I had to say about my father, Iron Joe Rodricks.

Photo by Julia Rodricks

But yes, the book is not just about fishing and “finding your spirit-home” in the great outdoors. It’s about being a father and being a son, and it’s specifically about my relationship with my father. I found that, in writing about fishing, it was impossible to avoid writing about him. The memories and words did not come easily, but they came, once and for all, and now, at last, that exercise in catharsis and craft is done. I hope this Father’s Day to have a meal with my daughter and son, and do some fishing with my son. (My daughter prefers photography to fishing.) When once I told him I had been out on the river with my son, another colleague, just as influential as the first, and wise in all things, told me: “Ah, well, you’re a rich man if you fish with your son.” Indeed.

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