fishing_with_dadAs Father’s Day approaches, I wish I could buy the man a gift. It would probably be a tie or a bottle opener or some similarly thoughtless token of esteem, but I can’t do that. He’s been gone a long time, and I would love nothing more than five more minutes with him. Instead, I have a few hints, Simple Ways to Have Fun Fishing With Dad. I spent countless hours in the boat alone with my dad and those were times I wouldn’t take back for all the money in the world. At the time, I’m sure I thought it was a true drag, but they turned out to be memories that have lasted forever.

1. Pee before you leave

Trust me. Dad probably will be annoyed with you for having to pee when you’re out in the middle of a lake somewhere, so right before the boat takes off, go do your thing and be prepared to hold it for a while. My dad always took along a tin can for me. Isn’t that sweet? I don’t know if he remembered I was a girl sometimes. I don’t think it mattered much to him.

2. Learn to appreciate nature.

You’re out there in that boat and there’s nothing else to do. Put away your phone and/or video games. Embrace the natural world around you and try to become one with it. There’s a lot to see and do when you just sit there. There’s more around you, small things and big, that will show themselves to you if you just sit quietly and keep your eyes and ears peeled and open to learn something from the natural world.

3. Talk to your dad

Dads are generally not known for being overly-communicative, but try to find out things about him you haven’t ever heard before. In my case, my dad was a WWII veteran and he was very reluctant to talk about his experiences, but sometimes, when he was relaxed and enjoying himself in the boat, he would tell stories about some of the lighter-sides of things he went through in the Pacific. I’m sure those talks brought back bad memories for him as well, but he was willing to share. Your dad didn’t come from a package. He lived a whole life before having kids, so find out what that life was like, when he made decisions, how he made them and why and what he’d do differently if he could. You might be surprised what you find out.

4. Be helpful.

I’ve lost my dad and he was a very old father. He was in his 40s before I was born, so I needed to help the old geezer quite a bit growing up. Your dad may not be as old, but there is never a bad time to give a dad a hand. Help him carry things to the boat or tighten a winch or clean some things up. You may not have a dad forever, so take it easy on the guy and help him out as much as you can. He’ll probably appreciate it.

5. Ask dad to teach you something

Maybe it’s how to tie a spinner on your line or use a depth-finder or, if he’s feeling generous, how to bring the boat in to dock, but dads love it when they can pass on their knowledge to their children. It’s a dad thing. There’s something about leaving something for posterity in teaching a child (no matter the age) how to do something they’ve never done before. Find out what he has to teach you and learn from him.

These are fairly simple things to keep in mind, but you’d be amazed how keeping it simple with dad will pay off in big ways. Enjoy your dad while you have him. He’s not going to live forever. When you go on that fishing outing with him, take the time to truly enjoy the time and squeeze every ounce of enjoyment you can out of an ordinary thing with him. He’ll appreciate it more than you realize.

Happy Father’s Day!