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Fishing with Cade: Table Rock Lake provides a memorable morning of fishing

Outdoor writer Ed Godfrey, and his son, Cade, show off a largemouth bass caught on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Outdoor writer Ed Godfrey, and his son, Cade, show off a largemouth bass caught on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

My 13-year-old son, Cade, has a lot in common with Jimmy Houston when it comes to fishing. Not so much the catching part, but the kissing part.

He is a good fish smoocher. The actual fishing part is a challenge for Cade, who was born with Down syndrome.

The day Cade was born, my wife and I were shocked upon receiving the news of Down syndrome. It felt like I had fallen off a mountaintop.

I was so thrilled the day Linda and I found out we were having a son. We already had two daughters and a third would have been great, but deep down I really wanted a boy.

It wasn't just me. My side of the family had experienced a long run of Godfrey girls. Everyone wanted a boy to keep the Godfrey name going.

We got a boy, just not the boy we were expecting, but what a boy he is.

After he was born, people told me I would be blessed by having a son with Down syndrome. At the time, I wasn't sure whether to believe them, but they were right.

It is challenging being Cade's dad at times, but over the years I've learned to focus more on the things Cade can do, and not what he can't. And what he can do is bring joy to everyone he meets.

Cade likes being outdoors, but fishing has mostly been a spectator sport for him when we've gone.

During our recent stay at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Missouri, the public relations folks hooked us up with fishing guide Tony Weldele, owner of Rainbow Chasers Guide Service (417-294-7335).

We ventured out on a hot, September morning on Table Rock Lake for a couple of hours to see if we could get Cade to catch his first fish.

The day before, Weldele was part of a large group who guided kids from the “Make A Wish” program for a day of fishing on Table Rock Lake.

Weldele, who lives on Table Rock Lake, grew up in St. Louis and was a Cardinals' baseball fan so we hit it off right away, since I have been a Cardinals' fan since 1967.

He's guided for St. Louis Cardinals baseball players, Dallas Cowboys players, professional golfers and many other celebrities who have enjoyed the amenities at Big Cedar.

I told him none of those fishing trips would be as memorable as this one. Living with Cade is like living with a leprechaun. Fishing with him is a similar adventure.

He would jump in Weldele's seat at every opportunity, want to push the buttons on the console of the boat and tried to steal his cellphone.

Cade tries to take everyone's cellphone. He can navigate one better than his old man. My wife kept a hawkish eye on him to ensure he didn't take the keys out of the boat and hide them, another trick he likes to pull.

Cade thinks all these pranks are great fun and it is for him. Cade's hijinks usually are for us, too, except for the time a cellphone ended up in the bottom of a lake.

Weldele baited some Canadian night crawlers on some spinning reels in hopes of landing some Missouri fish. We got bites immediately and lost them right away. We even had three fish break the line, which prompted Weldele to ask if we had brought any bananas aboard the boat.

There is an old superstition about bananas being bad luck on fishing boats. A quick check on the internet provides several explanations for this tall tale. Among them are:

• When ships of earlier eras would sink, precious little other than the bananas they had carried would be found floating on the surface, thereby leaving some to conclude conveyance of the fruit itself had led to these naval mishaps.

• Spiders, snakes and other lethal creatures would hitch a ride with the bananas in the hold of ships and eventually infest the other parts of the ship.

• Because speedy vessels were used to get bananas to the their destinations before they could spoil, those attempting to fish from them never caught anything while trolling.

We had not brought any bananas aboard, but we did bring several strawberry banana yogurts for Cade. Such snacks are vital on any kind of adventure with Cade.

We concluded our bad fishing luck surely must be the result of Cade's yogurt of choice. Just like at home, Cade is the first suspect when anything is missing or goes wrong.

Fortunately, Cade had all the strawberry banana yogurt eaten in the first 30 minutes of the trip. Then the fish started biting.

Weldele suddenly landed a bass, handed Cade the rod and reel and Cade handed me his apple juice. Weldele told me to grab the net but wasn't impressed with my netting skills. In my defense, it's not easy trying to net a fish with one hand while trying not to spill a carton of apple juice in the other.

Cade needed help reeling in the fish, but he got his trophy fish in the boat. Weldele unhooked the largemouth bass for him, and Cade then planted a kiss on its lips that would have made Jimmy Houston proud.

Cade then instructed his mom and dad to start catching fish, like we could do so on command. We caught and released a few more Missouri bass that morning before calling it a day.

Frankly, I think Cade enjoyed the boat ride more than the fishing. Weldele even let him help steer. Cade must have liked our fishing guide, because the more he pesters you, the more he likes you.

We set out to create a special day for Cade and as usual he made it special for us.

Back at Bent Hook Marina, Cade boasted of catching more fish than anyone. He is such a liar. I guess he really is a fisherman.

Related Photos
<p>Cade Godfrey, 13, of Edmond, catches a bass on Missouri's Table Rock Lake with the help of fishing guide Tony Weldele of Rainbow Chasers Guide Service. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN]</p>

Cade Godfrey, 13, of Edmond, catches a bass on Missouri's Table Rock Lake with the help of fishing guide Tony Weldele of Rainbow Chasers Guide Service. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b015b92b219ec3a3efdbd0209f5e6666.jpg" alt="Photo - Cade Godfrey, 13, of Edmond, catches a bass on Missouri's Table Rock Lake with the help of fishing guide Tony Weldele of Rainbow Chasers Guide Service. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Cade Godfrey, 13, of Edmond, catches a bass on Missouri's Table Rock Lake with the help of fishing guide Tony Weldele of Rainbow Chasers Guide Service. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Cade Godfrey, 13, of Edmond, catches a bass on Missouri's Table Rock Lake with the help of fishing guide Tony Weldele of Rainbow Chasers Guide Service. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-ba20926e3729739582bd931716887277.jpg" alt="Photo - Outdoor writer Ed Godfrey, and his son, Cade, show off a largemouth bass caught on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" Outdoor writer Ed Godfrey, and his son, Cade, show off a largemouth bass caught on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> Outdoor writer Ed Godfrey, and his son, Cade, show off a largemouth bass caught on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. [PHOTO BY LINDA LYNN, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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