There's a catch to a day out with dad

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The Independent Online

Ever since I started fishing I'd wanted to go fishing with my father. This has everything to do with the fact that he is Italian and has no sons, and I am the youngest (i.e. the last chance, as I've always seen it, for him to have had a boy).

Ever since I started fishing I'd wanted to go fishing with my father. This has everything to do with the fact that he is Italian and has no sons, and I am the youngest (i.e. the last chance, as I've always seen it, for him to have had a boy).

The very first time I went fishing I caught a trout and brought it home to him. I could tell he was proud although he hid it well behind his bushy eyebrows (it is only permissible for Italian men to show emotion whilst watching football). But to go fishing with my father, that would be special indeed.

So this year, using their only grandchild as bait, we persuaded my parents to join us on holiday in Devon. The day before our planned fishing trip, my boyfriend took my father out into a field and taught him how to cast while the women stayed in and read Heat magazine. The next day, after a terrific row between my boyfriend and I, during which I stormed off and planned my escape to sea, we went fishing: my father, my boyfriend, and me.

I was in a terrifically bad mood. This was not at all how I had envisaged it. My father didn't have his hand on my shoulder and pride in his eyes (secretly I think he sided with my boyfriend viz The Row), and I was almost cross-eyed with rage.

Anyway, fishing commenced. Despite it being a Wednesday the fishery was pretty packed and around us men were a-catching fish. It looked hopeful, but I had been there many times before and the fishing can be really hard.

I put on something with brass eyes to begin with, but without much hope of it catching fish. Pride stopped me asking my boyfriend what fly he recommended. Then I tried a black ant pattern even though it wasn't a hot and sunny day. Then another dry fly. Then something wriggly. No matter where I cast from, the wind was always in my face. My father was casting away having a little trouble with the wind but he fished determinedly and with no complaint (how like him I am...). None of us were having any bites at all. I wanted very much for my father to catch a fish, although I also wanted him to be proud of me catching one. It was bizarrely complicated.

I decided to go over to the other side of the lake to my 'lucky' spot. The downside is that there are more trees and bushes to catch yourself on. As I picked up my fly box a green and white lure fell out. It was as good an idea as any so I put it on. My boyfriend came over and for some reason I said: "Have a go with my rod."

He cast out much farther than I could have and almost instantly hooked a fish. He handed the rod back to me, but my first reaction was to call my father on so that he could play in his first fish. But things happen so quickly and dinner had to be caught, so I played the fish in.

The afternoon wore on. As I opened and closed my fly box, trying almost everything in it, I kept looking at my boobie-flies and thinking "hmm", but I wasn't that desperate; at least not yet. The fishery cat came to eat a mouse he'd just caught at my feet. At least someone was catching something.

I was standing next to a bush, underneath which I could see a big rainbow swimming about. I cast a very short line with the little green-white lure at the end. I could see the trout, and others, come to it repeatedly only to reject it. They did this with every wet fly I tried. In a way being able to see the fish in this way made for really exciting fishing, in another it reinforced the rejection I was starting to feel.

Eventually I decided I would go home. The 'boys' stayed on until evening, although no more fish were caught. Finally I had gone fishing with my father, although actually I think he saw it more as fishing with my boyfriend. I think some things just need to be done man to man.

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