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Every day is Father's Day

6/15/2008

Fathers and sons don't plan exotic trips to far-away places to play basketball together. They won't rise at absurd times, pile into the old pickup truck and head for that favorite spot in the stadium parking lot hours before sunrise (unless, of course, they're Green Bay Packers fans).

But fathers frequently do take their young sons fishing.

It's the simple act of wetting a line together which brings peace to men from many generations and gives fathers and sons the chance to spend time together on every trip.

On the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup series, five lucky teams of redfish anglers experience this reality at every Gulf venue, not to mention they also get a crack at winning over $50,000 in first-place prize monies.

"Every day is Father's Day out there," said Redfish pro Terry L. Lacoss, who fishes with his son Terry D. "It's a blessing to have a son that follows in your footsteps out here."

"I feel honored to fish with my father," said Chuck Howard. "You're choosing him as a partner at the same time he's choosing you."

Not only does Howard fish competitively with his father C.J., the two are also business partners, operating a professional employee services company in Bradenton, Fla.

Along with the Lacosses and Howards, Kevin and "Cajun" Phil Broussard, Mike and Michael Frenette, and Greg and Bill DeVault have the pleasure of fishing professionally as a father-and-son teams.

"Terry D. and I have enjoyed fishing together and even if we break even, it's fine with us," said the elder Lacoss about the financial end of competing in the nation's premier saltwater fishing championship.

"The only time I get a chance to really see my son is when we're fishing."

All five fathers who share a boat with their son on the Redfish Cup are quite aware of the unique chance to spend time with their adult children. Most think fishing with a family member also gives their team the competitive edge on the water.

"He's my son and I'm his father, so we know what each other is thinking," said Mike Frenette. While many unrelated team may struggle with decision-making because of ego or pride, father-and-son teams already know where each other stand — the sons have known it their entire lives.

"It's cool to share all of this, especially with your own dad," said Greg DeVault. "The best part about it is you know you can get along."

"If you look at a lot of the teams doing well over the years, it's a lot of brother teams, and father-and-son teams," said Chuck Howard. "I think the whole reason is because of the chemistry there. Some teams have it for a little while, but with family, it lasts."

According to Michael Frenette, the youngest Redfish Cup pro at 18, the special bond pays off "not just because we have family in the boat, it's because we're really competitive, too."

Like most fishing families, in Redfish Cup circles, knowledge has passed down over multiple generations.

Greg DeVault learned how to fish in freshwater from his father and, at the same time, gleaned valuable information saltwater fishing with his father's father. Growing up in Florida gave DeVault added experience when it came time to eventually hook redfish for money.

"When I was growing up, we had to catch fish to live, so I got the know-how in fishing all kinds of circumstances," said 65-year-old Broussard. For "Cajun" Phil, fishing wasn't a sport back then.

Michael Frenette didn't know anything but fishing early in his life. "He's been on the boat since he was about a year old and could throw a baitcaster at 2 or 3," said his father. "He's been fishing professionally since he was 12- or 13-years-old."

From the time primitive offspring first observed their clan providers spearfishing in a raging river to today's catch-and-release tournament, which may put a guy in mid-life crisis on a tower boat with "old man," the sport of fishing continues to nurture the souls of men.

And it always will.