Fishing with Ivan Part 1

17 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “He is a man who loves to fish.”  Well, DiVoran’s father, Ivan, was “A man who lived to fish.”  He loved the mountains, trees, rivers, reservoirs, and lakes.  Eventually, he got a chance to live near the ocean.  Strangely, as much as Ivan liked to fish, he never really liked to eat fish, so his hobby kept his friends and neighbors around him well supplied.  His family moved to Canon City, CO, in the mid-1920s when Ivan was six years old.  The Arkansas River runs right through town, and I’m sure, as a young boy, he had his favorite fishing hole on that river, and spent a lot of time getting good at catching the biggest fish.  Whatever other influences there may have been, by the time I met DiVoran, and married into his family Ivan had become an avid fisherman.  DiVoran and I visited Ivan and her mother Dora many times over the years, and almost every time, it was in a location close to a good fishing hole of some type.

While I was going to college at Northrop Institute of Technology (now Northrop University), DiVoran and I lived in Inglewood, CA.  She was working as a hair stylist for the Magic Mirror Beauty Salon, earning her Putting Hubby Thru (PHT) degree to help me with school expenses.  I had a part-time job, at the Los Angeles International Airport, servicing several different types of airplanes for four small west coast airlines.  With DiVoran working full-time and all the school work I had to deal with, it didn’t leave us a lot of time for much of anything else.  Ivan and Dora lived about 350 miles north of us in Livermore, CA, at the time, and we would try to visit them every chance we got. Of course, as newlyweds, we also had to alternate our trips to see my family in Albuquerque, NM to keep everyone happy.


During one of these visits, Ivan took me Sturgeon fishing on the Sacramento River.  That was the day I caught the biggest fish I ever caught.  My Sturgeon weighed in at 75 lbs. and Ivan’s was huge, at 110 lbs.  They were so big we couldn’t even get them in Ivan’s small fishing boat.  We looked kind of like “The Old Man and the Sea,” coming back toward the dock with a big fish tied up on either side of his small boat.  It was all the two of us could do to get them out of the water and into the back of Ivan’s pickup truck.  Of course, we had to stop by the local VFW on the way home to show off our catch to Ivan’s buddies.  They were all properly impressed.  I had DiVoran take a photo of me with that fish, so I could prove to my friends that I wasn’t telling another big fish story.

DiVoran reminded me that she learned that unlike any other kind of fish we know of, if you cut Sturgeon up and put it in the refrigerator, it has no fishy smell whatsoever.  Wikipedia informs me that one popular belief is that Sturgeon have been called a primitive fish, because their characteristics have remained relatively unchanged since the earliest fossil records.  It’s just warm enough in the San Francisco Bay area, and surrounding rivers, to allow them to thrive.  Several species of Sturgeon are harvested for their roe, which is then processed into the luxury food caviar.  That has led to the overexploitation of the fish, which, combined with the other conservation treats, has brought most of the species to the critically endangered status, and at the edge of extinction.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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