Left, Bob Houck holds up a spoonbill catfish he caught in Grand Lake, Okla., earlier this year. This 18-pound fish was the smallest caught by Houck’s family on the trip. The largest weighed 61 pounds. Right, Bob poses with his sons and grandsons on their trip to Grand Lake, Okla., to fish earlier this year.[/caption]
“Any family get-together is a good time for us. We leave the women at home.”
That’s how the Houck family rolls.
When resident Bob Houck was a child, his dad taught him how to fish. Then, when he had his own children, Bob taught his two sons how to fish, and he’s passed on his love for the sport to his four grandsons and two granddaughters.
“To me, fishing is like therapy. It’s real relaxing. You don’t always know what kind of fish you’re going to catch, and you hope it’s something big. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t,” said Bob.
“It” happened for Bob’s sons and his two oldest grandsons on the family’s first fishing trip to Grand Lake, Oklahoma in 2018.
“I told them on the way down there they’d probably catch the biggest spoonbill catfish of their life. They all did … except me!” Bob’s youngest son, Mike, caught a 61-pounder; his next to oldest grandson, Jacob, caught a 54-pounder; his oldest grandson, Justin, caught a 42-pounder; and his oldest son, David, caught a 28-pounder. “Mine was a little one at 18 pounds!”
But the time together with his family is about much more than just what they catch.
“Most the time, I talk about growing up, and the kids ask me what I did when I was little. Our time fishing is also about passing on my life stories,” said Bob.
Bob and his wife Mary, who will celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary this August, are from Caldwell, Kan., and raised their two sons in Salina before moving to Liberal in 1994. They lived there for 21 years before moving back to Salina and making a new home at Presbyterian Manor two and a half years ago.
“I enjoy living here because there’s always something going on, which is good. You don’t lack for any activity. As a fisherman, the pond outside the community is enjoyable, too. It’s got some big fish out there. Not as big as Grand Lake, though.”