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Fishing and fatherhood

From left, Tom, TJ and Tom Pollock pose with TJ’s catches at the Kids Fishing Derby at Lake Colby on Sunday, Father’s Day. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

SARANAC LAKE — Local fathers and grandfathers celebrated Father’s Day at the annual Kids Fishing Derby at Lake Colby on Sunday, hosted by the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club.

For the Daunais family of Saranac Lake, the fishing derby is a Father’s Day tradition stretching back 16 years. Jackson, 14, participated this year, and caught some large-mouth bass, sunfish, perch and rock bass. His older sister, Lexee, who has aged out of the competition, started participating with their dad, Lee, when she was 2 years old.

“We fish a little bit once in a while, but we do this every Father’s Day,” Lee said.

The most rewarding part of being a father is helping your kids succeed, according to Lee.

“(I love) teaching him stuff and seeing him do things and succeed at stuff. I taught him baseball,” Lee said. “I just like seeing him succeed.”

Jackson, left, and Lee Daunais pose together after a successful day of fishing at the Kids Fishing Derby at Lake Colby on Sunday, Father’s Day. (Enterprise photo — Sydney Emerson)

Jackson agreed — he said he loves to learn from his father, especially when it comes to sports.

“I play baseball and he’s my coach, so him coaching me … all the stuff he teaches me for sports,” Jackson said of his favorite things to do with his dad.

TJ Pollock, 7, also got his love of sports from his dad — he plays hockey, lacrosse and basketball. The most important thing he inherited, however, is his name, Thomas, which he shares with his dad and grandfather. The trio were all at the fishing derby Sunday.

“You didn’t get basketball from me. I’m terrible at it,” TJ’s dad said.

Aside from playing sports, TJ and Tom like to go fishing together. At the derby, TJ caught a 10-inch perch that landed him in first place for his age bracket. Enjoying a hot dog with his dad and grandfather after the derby, TJ kept his two perch by his side, showing them off to his grandfather.

The Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club’s annual Kids Fishing Derby was held on Sunday at Lake Colby Beach in Saranac Lake. Thirty-two kids participated in four age groups for the biggest fish in the following categories: Perch, Salmon, Bass and Pumpkin/Shiner/Rock/Sun species. The Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club provided lunch and medals. New fishing poles were given to a few lucky kids whose names were picked out of the pile of participants. (Enterprise photo — Lindsay Munn)

TJ’s grandparents live in Rochester and come up to visit a few times a year. The Adirondacks are somewhat of a family tradition, though — TJ’s grandparents met while camping at Rollins Pond and Tom, TJ’s dad, moved up north to attend Paul Smith’s College in 2005 and never left.

“He came up for college and never came back,” TJ’s grandfather said of his son.

“I had a professor (at Paul Smith’s) who said it was the Hotel California,” Tom said. “He wasn’t wrong. Try to leave, and you come right back. It’s a good place to raise a family.”

Tom said his dad was a good role model for fatherhood.

“(I inherited) his strong work ethic, really good family values and the importance of spending time with your kids and being there and supporting their endeavors,” Tom said.

“That sounds good,” his father said. “I’ll take that.”

“I also got his hairline,” Tom said.

The best part of being a father and grandfather is watching the people you love grow up, the eldest Tom Pollock said.

“It’s nice to see people progress from a younger age right up straight through, physically as well as academically: going to school, seeing him through all his stuff, learning how to play instruments and entertaining people, getting into relationships and then the whole thing starting all over again,” he said. “I think that’s what it’s all about. … It’s good, it’s all good.”

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