Tag Archives: Fishing

Gone Fishin’

24 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Bowers Lites


Photo from Pinterest


My dad learned to fish from his dad. He loved it the best of all recreations. The first fishing trip I recall going on with dad was when we lived in Westcliffe, Colorado. We had a little restaurant and bar on Main Street called Min’s Café.

One early fall, Mother and Dad closed the restaurant and we went up into the Sangre de Cristo Range to fish in a creek. We drove our black 1946 Ford two-door car to about 9,000 feet elevation. We took a tent, fishing gear, and an aluminum set of pots, pans, and flatware that all fit together in a cozy kettle.

It wasn’t far, so we arrived early in the day and found ourselves in a high meadow. Dandelions with their green leaves grew all around, some of the flowers were yellow, and some were dressed in white fluff. The air was cool and fragrant. Grasses along the creek had begun to change colors. As soon as the tent was set up Dad took my brother and I down to the creek to start fishing. Our poles had two hooks each so we’d have a chance to catch more rainbow trout and more browns. Dad thought that since I was such a big girl I ought to be able to thread the worms he’d brought along onto the hooks. They were wiggly and squishy and I didn’t like doing it one bit, because I knew it had to hurt them. Dad was proud of me for doing it, though, so I was proud, too. He wanted us both to learn to enjoy his favorite sport. Dad and my brother went to fish further up the creek. Mother was resting in the car after a long week of working in the café. Feeling lazy, I released the fishing line into the creek in a quiet place and propped the rod against the bank with rocks. I then crawled into the tent and picked up my Nancy Drew mystery from the library. Reading was already my favorite recreation. Before I got through even one chapter I heard a commotion outside and crawled out of the tent to see what was going on. Dad and my brother were waiting for me. Holding up my fishing pole to show me that I had caught a fish on each hook. Wow, was I ever satisfied with my talent for fishing. Dad took them off the hook for me, thank Heaven. We put them in the creel, then Dad and brother went back to fish for our supper. Mother was ready to pick dandelion greens and wanted me to help her. I had never heard of such a thing as eating dandelion leaves before, but she said said Auntie Elvira had taught her in Camp Fire girls when she was younger.

After we picked a batch of green and started them cooking in the kettle, mother gave me a bar of soap and told me to wash my hands. I got down as close as I could to the water and put my hands in holding the soap. Whoosh, the creek took it, and it was gone. I went back to tell Mother and she was understanding about it. “Oh, well,” says she, “we’ll just have to wash our hands with sand.”

Dad had brother and I watch him clean the fish so we’d know how to clean our own next time. I’ve never had to do it, but I can see clearly in mind mind’s eye how he slashed it from the bottom of the belly to the gills and pulled out the guts. It was pretty cool and then after it was fried in cornmeal in a skillet over the camp stove dad taught us how to get the bones out. We started at the tail, got hold of the inner skeleton and pulled all up together. We then pulled that from the side and had two clean sides.

During supper, my brother kept casting bright-eyed glances at my dad. Did they have a secret? What could it be? I would find out one way or another.

As I was finishing my canned peaches for dessert I looked up and saw that gentle snowflakes were wafting down. I’d never seen it snow in summer

Later on when no one was looking I got my brother in a headlock and made him tell. Did I mention he was younger and smaller?

Anyhow he talked. He said that after he and dad had caught a few, they sneaked in and put a couple on my hooks. “That’s what you get for readin’ when you’re supposed to be fishin’” my brother said. He then ran away. I gave chase, but I never caught him. Did I mention that he was swifter a well?



Fishing Therapy Part 2

16 Feb

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Because my brain begins racing as soon as I wake up, I have asked God to give me a scripture or song to start my day in a grateful mindset. Last Thursday morning I was given the word joy. My first thought was oh boy, what will I face today that I need to count it as joy.


We had planned to try out the fishing at Port Canaveral but I wasnt feeling  energetic so we changed our fishing plans and went back  to the park close to home.

A beautiful family from Ecuador stopped by to talk and we enjoyed communicating with my high school Spanish and his pretty good English. Then they went to have lunch under the pavilion.




A few minutes later, the little boy around 4 yrs old and his sister around 8 came running up to me with big smiles. The little guy had a fresh chocolate covered glazed donut in his hand for me. God’s joy gift can come in many forms, today it was in smiles and my favorite donut!

This fishing trip resulted in actually catching some fish. I caught a whiting, which is my favorite for eating, a silver trout and my husband caught a speckled trout. We didn’t keep them as they were too small, but it was fun catching them. Even though we tried to be gentle, the trout after swimming away, showed up floating on the water, I wanted to believe it was resting  and I was upset when the gulls tried to make it their lunch.

The fishing reel I use is a bait caster and over twenty years old. It is having some problems. I think I am going to go back to my favorite reel for fishing in the river, a Zebco 33. It’s kind of like having a reunion with one’s first love.

Something scary did happen during our outing. I had placed my phone in the drink holder of my bag chair so I could listen to the radio. It was very windy and when I stood to reel in my line, a gust blew my chair over and my phone went flying towards the water. My heart sank. Then I realized I could faintly hear my phone and when I looked over the side, I saw my phone lying on a boulder. My husband went down on the rocks and retrieved it. I feared the screen would be broken but it was fine. I thanked God for this and added another item to my lessons learned list.

This week we won’t have a chance to fish. I will miss it.

It is Good to Give Thanks

18 Aug

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

During my growing up years, we lived in Orlando, Florida. My parents loved to fish, so most Fridays as soon as my parent’s made it home from work, we loaded the car with fishing gear and headed to the east coast. We would fish all night and most of Saturday.  We usually fished from a pier and late at night when most folks had gone home to sleep, we would often  begin to sing hymns in the evening stillness. Just my family, the moon and the stars. Wonderful memories.

What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks,
    to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak,
    sing your faithful presence all through the night,
Accompanied by dulcimer and harp,
    the full-bodied music of strings.

Psalms 92: 1-3

The Message

Dad:Worst Enemy, Best Friend~Part 4

27 Jun

My Take 

DiVoran Lites

Author, Poet and ArtistFunny how many times I could have lost my dad, but didn’t. He was always there for me, and I had the deep security of knowing he always would be. I took him so much for granted, though, that I didn’t realize until much later that his caring for me in the ways that he did were the foundation for my trusting God.

Dad and I went more rounds over the years. We moved to Los Alamos where he became a courier for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC).

Then we moved to Albuquerque so he and Mom could continue to work for the government. Dad still traveled.



I ran away to get married, but Dad called the florist in faraway CA, to order an orchid for my bridal bouquet. He wasn’t able to attend because of the job.

We moved to Florida for Bill’s job at Kennedy Space Center. Mom and Dad never failed to visit us once a year, and we also joined them on their fishing vacations at Salton Sea (now defunct).* After Salton Sea came Marrowstone Island in Puget sound, then Sapinero-Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado. The vacations were memorable, but I’m afraid I didn’t appreciate them as much then as I do in retrospect. The living was rough, fishing was all, but Mom the kids and I could always go to town (except at Salton Sea which was out in the desert by itself.) And once we did some old-fashioned clamming. That was great fun!

All those vacations were good for getting to know each other, especially the children. I’ll always be grateful that Mom and Dad went to that much effort to stay in touch.

When we first arrived in Florida, the woods that border our home seemed scary and exotic. I’d heard so much about snakes and insects I didn’t want to go out there.


When Dad came, though, he wasn’t daunted. He started walking every day. Our dog and I soon joined him and we learned the way. We’ve been walking the trails in those woods ever since, first with our kids and dogs then with our grandkids. It is a chief enjoyment in life.

Mother always told me to have plenty of things for Dad to repair when they came so he wouldn’t get bored. The year we had no TV he threatened never to come back again, but we got one and he did. One job dad did was to put up a jar opener under a cupboard for us. He was having a lot of trouble with carpal-tunnel syndrome by then. I use that gripper now because I need it sometimes. I wonder, if he realized what a favor he had done for us by installing it.

With maturity, my grievances have melted away. I’ve realized that I deeply loved my Dad in spite of our lifelong battles. The first time I went to visit when he was in the nursing home unable to do anything for himself we both broke into tears. Dad was aware enough to ask, “Is this who I think it is?” Later, I sat alone with him and held his wrist in my hand so I could feel his pulse because I didn’t know how to talk to him as others seemed to do.

This year, on Memorial Day Sunday our pastor asked people to call out the names of their kin who had died in wars. At first there were only a few and then it became a chorus of jumbled names. I felt sad knowing how difficult it is to lose any member of your family. But I also had a halleluiah feeling that I did get to know my Dad for the rest of his life after he came home from WW2. He carried signs of what we now call PTSD. I believe that most families whose parents have been in the military during wartime do. Thanks Dad, for coming back and living a long life in which I got to know you and your true value.

DiVoran and Dad with coats


Read more about Salton Sea by clicking HERE






15 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis



Back in the late fifties, going to church was a much more sociable activity than it is today. Once the service was over the adults would linger outside the church, on the sidewalk just to chat and enjoy being together. The children, glad to be freed from the trial of sitting still would run around like uncaged monkeys playing tag and screaming until a parent shushed us.  One particular evening, the air had a chill to it and I stood Lucerne Parkshivering next to my dad. Without making a big  “to do” about it, he took off his suit jacket and put it around my shoulders. It covered my small body completely and smelled like my dad’s Vitalis hair oil and a faint scent of cigarrete smoke. I felt completely safe and warm covered by his jacket. That was my first picture of how much God loved me.

My dad and mom loved to fish and we drove to the east coast of Florida every Friday night to fish. In my childhood I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a fishing pole. I started with a cane pole in the local lakes. When I was considered big enough to have a real fishing rod and reel, it was a small Zebco. I remember my dad teaching me first how to bait my hook, release the line and how important it was to “hold your pole Loved catching the big ones.up” when you were reeling in a fish. Next he taught me how to tie a hook onto my line and change the weights. He wanted me to be self-sufficient but he was always there to help me out when I tangled my line or man the long dip net when I had a fish to big for me to reel up. This was my second picture of how God loved me. Like my dad, God would always be there to help me untangle my life and he would be my “dip net” when I called out to him.

Matthew 7:11 says-“ If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”


My dad was a humble man and because of his humility, it took me many years to realize what a truly remarkable father he was.

Me and dad

Me and dad



Visits with Ivan & Dora Part 2

5 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


1png My work during those years took me to the Southern California area frequently, and this was great for us, because Ivan and Dora would always invite us to come visit them in whatever location they happened to be that summer.  I would take DiVoran with me for a week of vacation before or after my business in California and we would spend our vacations relaxing with Ivan and Dora.  We made several summer visits to their home in Vista, one visit to the Salton Sea (226 ft. below sea level), two visits while they were staying at Smithy’s on Marrowstone Island and one visit to Sapinero in Colorado.

Sapinero is a small community located on U.S. Highway 50, along the shore of the 2Blue Mesa Reservoir in western Colorado.  Ivan had wanted to move to Montrose, Colorado but couldn’t talk Dora into a permanent move, so summers at Sapinero were the next best thing he could come up with.  The community is made up of mostly part-time summer folks with their motor homes and travel trailers, who like Ivan, like the lake fishing.

3In 1955 Sapinero became an example of those stories about a riverside community being moved to a new location when those in power decided they needed to dam up the Gunnison River to provide water for the surrounding area.  The original Sapinero community now resides under some 300 feet of water.  The reservoir was stocked with Kokanee Salmon and Tilapia, which at the time I had never heard of, but were fun to catch and wonderful eating.

In addition to the rustic “Village Store”, which included the “Ley-Z-B Restaurant”, 4there are several old “rustic cabins”, one of which we rented for our one and only stay at Sapinero.  The problem with the cabins was that they were very primitive, and provide only the basic needs, such as very cold water and one 60-watt light bulb.  The bed sagged so badly that DiVoran and

I tended to roll in toward each other in the middle, and there was a 2” gap under the door.

5The two-hole outhouse was 30 feet down the drive and very dark at night, which reminds me of a little “outhouse trivia” you may not know.  It’s said that the first outhouse designs used a crescent moon cut into the door to identify the “Ladies” and a star cut into the door to identify the “Men’s” privies.  Then after a while, the star was dropped and privies became unisex in nature, mainly because the women kept their privies cleaner than the men did.  Bet you had never heard that one before!  I hadn’t.

One night while we were fast asleep, dreaming of how nice it would be to be to be sleeping in our own bed at home, DiVoran suddenly jumped out of bed screaming and brushing wildly at her hair.  I was still half-asleep and couldn’t figure out what was going on.  Finally, she calmed down long enough to tell me that something had 7run through her hair, and about that time, we saw this field mouse scurry out through the gap under the door.  Then I had visions of what else could find its way through that gap into our cabin looking for a warm place to sleep.  Well, you better believe we didn’t waste any time blocking that gap with towels, but I’m not sure how much better that helped us sleep that night.

8 Ivan had built a wooden cover and porch structure over his travel trailer to help shade them from the sun and give them a place to relax in the evenings.  TV reception at Sapinero was almost non-existent, so most evenings a bunch of the folks and/or some of the local cronies would gather at the Ley-Z-B Restaurant for dinner and/or to spend the evening sharing some of the many stories for which traveling folks and old cronies are known to have an endless supply.

Every Saturday evening the Ley-Z-B Restaurant hosted a western style Bar-B-Q at the Village Store.  People of all ages came from all around the immediate area to 9enjoy the great food. We even saw some bikers stop in to try out the ribs.  Someone would usually bring a guitar or banjo and provide the music for the evening’s sing-a-long, and a great time was had by all.

These are just a few of the more memorable times we have spent with Ivan and Dora over the years.  They knew how to relax and have a good time where ever they were, and that made It  relaxing and fun for DiVoran and me to spend time with them.  What wonderful memories!  We would love to do any of those trips over again if it were only possible.

—–The End—–

Visits with Ivan & Dora Part 1

29 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Ivan,father of DiVoran Lites

DiVoran’s dad, Ivan, was an avid fisherman, one of those “Lives to Fish” kind of guys.  During his working years, he spent as much time as his job permitted, fishing within a driving radius of his home.  When he and his wife Dora lived in Livermore, California, it was the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River where he did most of his fishing.

At that time, DiVoran and I lived in Los Angeles where I was attending Northrop University, and we made several trips to Livermore so Ivan and Dora could see their grandkids.  Now I’m not really much a fisherman, but I have fond memories of fishing with Ivan on San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River.  In fact, I caught the biggest fish of my life, a 75 lb. Sturgeon, and Ivan caught a 104 lb. Sturgeon during one of our trips up the Sacramento River.


On another trip to Livermore to visit Ivan and Dora, Ivan took me fishing on San Francisco bay where together, we caught the most fish (110 total) I can remember.  Of course, of those 110 Striped Bass we caught, we had to release 109 because they measured from 12“ to 15” long, and the limit was 16”, which left us with only one keeper, but boy was that a fun morning!

3Ivan and Dora retired in Vista, California and one of the first trips we made to visit them  there involved Ivan taking me to run his lobster traps.   He had obtained a commercial Pacific Lobster License with the idea of making a fortune selling his catches to the local area  restaurants.

The only trouble with that plan was that poachers were raiding his traps and running off with most of his lobsters.  He had tried everything he could think of to deter the poachers, including enlisting the local sheriff, all to no avail.  The traps were some distance off shore, and no one was able to keep watch on the traps 24/7, and he never knew when the poachers would strike.  But, the lobsters we were able to catch on that trip were delicious!

Bill Lites

Bill Lites

Vista was hot in the summer compared to Livermore, so to beat the heat and be able to fulfill Ivan’s fishing desires, they would pick out a nice “cool” campground at a good fishing location, buy a used 30’ travel trailer and set it up there for the summer.  If the location turned out to meet all Ivan’s “Summer Getaway/Fishing Requirements”, then they would leave the trailer for  the next year.  If not, they would hook up the travel trailer to his truck and move it to another “Better” location the next year.5

There were the memorable summers Ivan and Dora spent in the Puget Sound area.   Dora’s brother Smithy ran a beautiful trailer park and campground on Marrowstone Island.   From Seattle, we had to take two ferryboats to get to the island and then drive several miles to get to Smithy’s Trailer Park, but it was well worth the time and effort.


Ivan and Dora  parked their travel trailer at Smithy’s for several  summers, and Ivan usually helped Smithy with the campground maintenance, while Dora and  Smithy’s wife Waunita took care of the family Avon business.  DiVoran and I would rent one of Smithy’s permanent travel trailers during our visits with them, which was just like camping in a State Park, which as it happened, was just a few miles north of Smithy’s at the Fort Flagler State Park. 7

A day of fishing for Ivan and me on Marrowstone island was; out early at low tide, to collect tube worms, then set off in Ivan’s boat in search of the best Flounder fishing hole.  By the time DiVoran and I visited  them at Smithy’s the first time, Ivan had scoped out the best places to find bait, and also the most likely places to find good size Flounder.  And boy was that fresh Flounder some good eatin’!


8a The other neat thing we did with Ivan and Dora while visiting them at Smithy’s was to go digging for clams.  Ivan knew just were to go at low tide for the largest clams.  We would walk along looking for the “waterspout” from the clam, then run over and dig it up.  It was amazing how deep we had to dig sometimes to get to the clam, and how long their siphon (leg, as Ivan called it) was that they used to spurt the water.  If you like clams, it would be hard to find better eating than those Puget Sound clams.

Ivan and DiVoran

Ivan and DiVoran

—–To Be Continued—–

Let’s Go Fishing

19 Sep

A Slice of Life

      Bill Lites

My father-in-law loved to fish. It really didn’t matter what kind of fish it was, he just loved the challenge.  To get away from the Summer heat he and his wife would select a relatively cool location, known for its good fishing reputation, and set up their semi-permanent base camp (usually a 30’ travel trailer) there.  Sometimes he would rent a travel trailer at a campground or sometimes he would buy a used travel trailer, haul it to the location, use it for the season, and then sell it when it was time to head home.

One year he called us and said, “The Silver Salmon are going to be running up the Columbia River and you should bring your family out and go on a fishing vacation with us.  Well, I’m not much of a fisherman, but we tried to make it to California once each year so the grandparents could see our kids (4 & 5 years old at the time) and we thought this would make everyone happy.


The plan was to fly from Orlando to San Francisco where Ivan would pick us up and take us to Livermore where they lived.  We prepared the truck, boat and crab traps for the trip to Garibaldi, Oregon where Ivan had made arrangements for us to stay together in a motel.  By leaving at 4 am, we made good time for the first 200 – 300 miles, when a wheel bearing went out on the boat trailer.  The repair took the better part of the day before we could continue our journey.  We finally made it to Garibaldi, had dinner somewhere, got checked into our motel and crashed for the night.

The next morning Ivan and I headed out early to get the boat in the water and set the crab traps on the way out to the “best fishing spot” as defined by the locals Ivan had pumped for information at the boat ramp.  That first day we were encouraged by the number and size of the fish being caught all around us.  The picture below gives you an idea of what some of the other people were catching.  This was what we were expecting to catch too.

Funny thing though, we didn’t catch a single fish that day.  Ivan was pretty upset about that, but his attitude improved somewhat as we came back in that afternoon, stopping to check the crab traps, and discovered we had a great catch of dungeness crabs

Of course, the kids were a little squeamish when they first saw the load of crabs we brought home!

Our family had not been introduced to what fine eating dungeness crabs could be, but after the initial shock of seeing how they were cooked, and getting over how they seemed to stare up at you from the plate as you were tearing off their legs, we enjoyed a wonderful, all-we-could-eat, crab meal.

As it turned out, each day after that was a repeat of that first day.  We never caught a single Silver Salmon, but Man-Oh-Man did we gorge on dungeness crabs!

On a rainy day, we took a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory.  That was a informative adventure seeing how all the different types of cheeses are made, wrapped, cured and packaged for shipment.

Ivan never did get over not catching any Silver Salmon, but the family had a good time and enjoyed seeing the local sights including the cheese factory.  The return trip to Livermore was uneventfull, but we all enjoyed the beautiful Oregon and Northern California scenery and a wonderful time together.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:6 (NIV)

It’s All About Fishing

7 Mar

Today I was tweet chatting with my friend; author Regina Puckett about being an outdoor person. I like the outdoors and she prefers to view it through a window. It turns out both our fathers loved fishing.  Coincidentally, earlier in the day I was tweet chatting with another author friend, Charles Dougherty about fishing. All this fish talk made me very nostalgic.

In our house, Friday night was not movie night or pizza night or staying up late night, it was fishing night. We lived about 60 miles from the east coast of Florida and after work my parents would load the car with poles, tackle, and sandwiches and off we went. We usually ended up at Mather’s bridge in Eau Gallie or the pier in Titusville.  We used a lantern dropped down over the water to draw the fish to the surface. It was thrilling to watch the trout swirl and dive under the light. I would hold my breath hoping one of them, preferably the big one would decide to rise to the surface and smack my bait with a pop.

Isn’t that kind of like being an Indie author? You dream and write and work to be published hoping that one day someone really big will rise to the top and pop your book with a great contract?

Hopefully the big fish will come, but until then I like my fish rolled in cornmeal with a little flour, fried in bacon grease on a Coleman stove right there on the water. Right Charles?

Check out my favorite Indie author Rebekah Lyn’s Summer Storms

Kindle Edition

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You might like to follow my friends @ReginaPuckett and @clrdougherty on Twitter.

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