Two special friends had a ball on their first-ever Free Fishing Day |

Two special friends had a ball on their first-ever Free Fishing Day

Don Quilici

Last Saturday was Free Fishing Day in Nevada and California, and many tens of thousands of anglers took advantage of the opportunity to fish on that day.

Among those many thousands were two special friends: Dan Dutulescu (pronounced: Do-Two-Less-Cue) and his son Daniel, who are neighbors at our cabin located near Davis Lake, Calif.

About a year ago, the Dutulescu family purchased the cabin just above ours, and immediately became close and warm friends.

Here is a little background on that fascinating family:

Dan (age 53) is actually Dr. Dutulescu, a veterinarian, who works for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture In Davis, Calif.

His wife Elena has just finished getting a college degree in “Managerial Economics” (whatever in the heck that is) from U.C. Davis.

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Their children Maria (14) and Daniel (13) are two of the politest and friendliest youngsters I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

Dan and Elena are originally from Romania, they immigrated to the U.S. and then jumped through all necessary hoops to become naturalized U.S. Citizens.

They are proud of their Romanian background, prouder of their American citizenship and proudly display the American flag any time they are at their cabin.

Dan came to America from Romania (at that time: Communistic) and had to wait five years for Elena to be able to join him. It finally took the involvement of former President Bush for Elena to obtain the necessary exit paperwork for her to leave Romania.

Elaine and I love to visit with Dan and Elena and listen to their fascinating tales of Romania, while they are speaking with a very delightful European accent.

My favorite Dan tale is when he first arrived in the U.S., he and his mother went to a supermarket and then just stood in awe at the overwhelming display of the countless food items on sale. In Romanian stores, he told us, you would often find only one can or box or bottle of only one brand of a food item.

My favorite Elena tale is when her family in Romania had to eat mashed peas on a slice of bread for dinner, because that was the only food available to them.

About two weeks ago, my son Jim and I had taken Dan fishing in Jim’s boat at Davis Lake. It was a very windy day and we got blown off the lake in the late morning.

But, not before Dan had caught a small catfish and a small Northern Pike, which was immediately killed and returned to the water as required by the current Calif. DF&G regulations at the lake.

Most impressively, those two fish were the first that he had caught since being in high school in Romania, many years ago.

That afternoon, we took Dan and Daniel to the north end of the lake for some lazy, laid-back shore fishing for catfish. That location has always produced small catfish, they are not large, but they are numerous and always fun to catch.

Jim and I showed the two of them how to bait their hooks, hold a fishing pole, cast and bring in a fish when it was caught.

During the course of a couple hours, they caught six catfish (three each) and were enthralled with their new found sport of fishing.

Then, last weekend, on Free Fishing Day, Elaine and I took Dan and Daniel back to that same location for a morning of even more fishing for catfish.

On this trip, both of them were required to bait their hooks, hold their poles, cast out their lines and bring in their catches. Elaine and I were the tutors, they were the students, and we only got involved whenever they had a problem such as: A snarl in their line, a snag, replacing a lost hook, etc.

How did they do?

Well, Daniel quickly learned how to consistently outcast his dad for distance, Dan sadly learned that you can’t cast very far when your line is wrapped around the end of your fishing pole, Daniel also sadly learned that when you yank too hard on your pole, when you have a bite, it will break your line, and Dan discovered that fishing is a great sport to share with your son and friends.

Did they catch any fish?

You bet they did! The two of them caught 12 catfish (six each).

Finally, most impressively, of all the fishermen (shore, float tubes, canoes and boats) that we saw at Davis Lake that morning, we never saw any other fish caught.

Dan and Daniel may have been beginners but they outfished everyone else that we saw!

Well done to two good friends and our neighbors on their first-ever Free Fishing Day!

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon he can’t tell you what Dan did with that first catfish of several weeks ago.

If he grins and says, “He took the catfish back to their cabin and Elena cooked the fish for everyone to taste. In addition, she ate the liver, which is considered a Romanian delicacy and her mom ate the head, also considered a delicacy,” he might have been peeking in the window of their cabin.

• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.