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Perry Montoya
Herm shows off his white bass.

Virtual fishing has nothing on wetting a hook in one of the many prime spots in our own backyard.

"Look, Dad, I caught a fat sea bass. ... I'm going to save a picture of this one."

I glanced at the TV screen just long enough to see the character from my kids' "Animal Crossing" game stuff an oversized green, spiny fish into his pocket after saving the image for the online library. I'm pretty sure the controller had even buzzed a little as he was reeling it in to simulate the "action" of the pole.

This might have been the moment I'd given up hopes of any Father of the Year award.

Flash forward to a recent weekend and my aspirations just may be back. Thanks be to Utah Lake and the prolific white bass — the equally spiny kind you don't want in your pocket or in an online library but on your line and then on your table. Such was the case when my boys and I ditched the rumble controller for our rods and reels.

With close friends in tow, a half-dozen worms and a tip on location (wall-to-wall anglers proved the secret is out about Lindon Harbor), we descended on Utah Lake with high hopes and, for a pleasant break from media saturation, no worries of high scores.

We not only met our hopes of a fish or two, we caught 20-plus in about two hours, the results exceeding my every expectation. At one point all three of us had fish on and then landed. My youngest even caught a mud catfish to sweeten the pot and add variety.

We caught and kept just enough white bass to take home for a deep-fryer fish fry from the neatly cut fillets. I used an old Southern trick of a five-minute soak in lemon juice and then a generous dip in Louisana Fish Fry: a mix of cornmeal, flour and spices to taste.

Perhaps my proof that we had "beaten this level" of the game came when my son asked, "Can we go back again this week, Dad?" The Nintendo has been off for days and the return trip is set. This time, I'm also taking my sister, who has been aching to get out this season as well.

Father of the Year possibilities, a brother back in good graces, not one change of batteries or a need to "save and quit." By my count, just like my two boys and I all catching fish at the same time in one haul ... it's three for three!

It's time to get off the couch and take your kids fishing.