Freddy Castillo

Note: The below story is about my father.

Fishing runs in Freddy Castillo’s blood.

As a young boy in the Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo, Castillo recalled observing his father, Daniel Octavio Castillo Peña, work on fishing gear at home. He said fishing thrilled his father.

“He was always in the house working on boats, casting nets — all those things,” Castillo said. “He was a fisherman for the Navy in the Dominican Republic.”

His father never allowed his youngest child to fish with him because of his age, so Castillo looked on, studying his father’s hands as they worked. Out of three sons, Castillo said he was the only one who developed a love of fishing. He also grew up close to the Caribbean sea.

“I would always go to El Malecon to fish,” he said, in reference to the capital’s famous oceanfront promenade. “Mama didn’t like it at first because she said it was too dangerous — that I could fall and drown, but I would sneak away anyway.”

(LISTEN: Castillo speaks in Spanish about his love of fishing in the below audio clip)

The 11-year-old Castillo would come home after school, eat, switch out his uniform for more casual clothes and head out to fish everyday. He’d meet his friends at El Malecon: El Mickey, Negro, El Polín, Jose and Felin.

Now 52, Castillo said fishing is his therapy.

“I forget about everything,” he said.

Everything except his father.

“I always think, ‘Wow, if my father were alive, he would be with me. I would be enjoying time with him,'” Castillo said. “But he died when I was 10 years old.”