For a father and son, it’s all about the fun of the reel
Often times, the bond that forms between a father and son is reinforced by a shared interest in a recreational activity, and this is certainly the case with Steve Contini and his son Sebastian, or, as dad has nicknamed his son to his debut, Sea Bass.
The future LCC senior said with the catchy epithet: “When I was old enough to hold a rod, my dad started sharing his fishing knowledge with me and has continued through the years. I have come to realize more and more how special memories are every time we fish together.
Sebastian decided to give up playing summer baseball to have more time to fish with Dad before college preparations and decisions were made. To make their time even more enjoyable, Dad recently bought a new 14 foot boat.
For Steve, it really is a long-standing love affair with fishing. When his father Bo became the chief golf pro at Hawthorne Hills, Steve was often fishing for bass and bluegill in the well-stocked lake that bordered three of the back holes.
Steve recalls, “To be honest, there were times when Dad would find me fishing when I should have been working on something he gave me to do.”
The 60-year-old LCC graduate remembers a 16th birthday present when his parents gave him a Canadian fishing trip by plane with three of his high school teachers, which bolstered his growing zeal for the sport.
“This is the trip that I really enjoyed fishing for Canada’s best known species – pike and walleye. Besides fishing, it was really a first exercise in autonomy because once the plane dropped us off on an isolated island with 10 days of refueling, that was it! This plane did not return for 10 days. “
Other fishing trips followed, such as the one to International Fall, Minnesota, with the Guagenti family. According to Steve, this was the only fishing trip he had ever taken where he put on weight.
“Of course the Guagentis are wonderful Italian cooks, so besides having fish that we caught, there was a different Italian specialty cooked each night in the cabins.”
Over the years, Steve’s passion for fishing has been fueled by several trips to Lake Erie to fish for walleye. After high school, when his city-wide football days came to an end and his reputation as one of the area’s toughest hitters wore off somewhat, he found he had still need a competitive sport to fill the void, so he got involved in a bass fishing tournament.
“I joined the Allen County Bass Masters at the age of 30 and started bass fishing lessons. Eventually, I entered the Bass Fishing League and started fishing tournaments in several states.
“After some early success with a second place finish on Lake St. Clair, Michigan, which brought me $ 965, I realized how tough professional fishing is against the best. It took two years before I cashed another check. In all, I fished 25 tournaments but, to be honest, I had only limited success.
“I really understood how exhausting tournament fishing is physically and mentally. There are so many variables you need to be prepared for, such as changing winds, inclement weather, how the boat operates, and how electronics work with sounders, depth sounders, and other imaging devices.
At 60, Steve’s tournament fishing days are a thing of his past. He changed fishing gear, after having traded his bass bait for floats. In fishing parlance, this means that it is much more likely to be seen in local reservoirs in pursuit of pan fish, such as perch, bluegill, catfish, and crappie.
The 1979 LCC graduate says: “We are lucky in this area. All the local reservoirs are teeming with bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie and most importantly perch, which translates into very good nutrition and a well-stocked freezer. Plus, it’s only a short drive to Indian Lake, known for its tall crappie and sage, a hybrid species of sage and walleye. Grand Lake is also a short drive away. “
Elder Contini enjoys all kinds of fishing and has traveled to some of the best waters on the continent in search of various species, such as Lake Okeechobee in Florida, Lake Guntersville and Wheeler in Alabama, and scenic Lake Henderson Bay in Ontario, the latter known for salmon.
He also ticked the box deep sea fishing with trips to Hawaii, Aruba and, recently, to celebrate his 60th and 18th birthdays from Sebastian, the Gulf of Mexico, where the Contini duo circled in snook, grouper, snapper and shark. .
Contini remembers the most important lesson his father Bo ever taught him when he and his wife Tina welcomed Sebastian into the world.
“Dad told me to spend as much time as humanly possible with my son. And, certainly, our many trips over the past few years have accomplished this.
A typical fishing business for that father-son combo, of course, must receive the blessing of the woman of the house, Tina. Steve returns to the first indications that Tina would agree with her love affair with fishing.
“When we were still in the dating phase long before our wedding and we had Sebastian, I remember one of our first dates, I took her to do a frog concert! I guess you could say how she made my heart laugh She was a wonderful and supportive wife and mother.
When it comes to advice for anyone new to the sport, Steve insists on keeping it simple, like in a basic rod and reel, a few floats and hooks, and a few live worms as bait in the bait shops. locals such as Milan on Reservoir Road on the east side just down from Metzger, Ferguson and Lost Creek reservoirs and Bait Outback on Kemp Road on the west side near Bresler and Williams reservoirs.
Steve says, “The people at the bait shops do a really good job giving advice to newbies. For dads or moms who are considering trying to start teaching their kids to fish early, getting ready for a fun day is essential. This means bringing plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent.
“Think of it this way. If you make the first experiences enjoyable like I did with my son, you will have the same blessing as me, a lifelong fishing partner.
As to where Steve and Sebastian Contini are on this special day for dads on the third Sunday in June, well, that’s pretty easy to figure out. As has been the case on so many other days, they will be together, this time around in this new 14-footer, trying to hit their limit at Bresler and Williams.
While time will tell if their catches hit the limit, given past results for these two, the odds are in their favor, but no matter how they do it, one fact is indisputable. There is never really a limit to the joy that a special passion like fishing can create when shared by a father and son.
Sebastian Contini and his father, Steve, hold two saltwater snooks caught on April 27, Steve’s 60th birthday, while on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico to celebrate his father’s 60th and 18th birthday.
Steve Contini made his son Sebastian addicted to fishing from an early age.
A boat loaded with poles caught Easter Sunday at a local tank for a delicious meal.
Sebastian Contini holds a 14-inch crappie captured at Bresler’s tank.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor, and author of two books. He can be contacted at [email protected]