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Catching Hope: Hite helps fathers become better dads

By Matthew Goins:

In 1970, the world of a five-year-old boy in Ninety-Six, South Carolina was shaken when his parents were one of nearly 6,000 couples in the state getting a divorce.

As he grew up and grappled with a new normal, Davy Hite and his father spent an extensive amount of time fishing.  

“There’s so much more to fishing for a child and a father than catching a fish,” said Hite, an SCBFA Founding Board Member.

Much like the 1972 Steely Dan hit, the father and son were “reelin’ in the years” and “stowin’ away the time.”

The time on the water allowed Hite to develop a deeper relationship with his father and build his angling skills that would later make Hite an outdoor legend.

The memories of fishing with his father led him to work with the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, where he has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2017.

Upon his appointment, Hite worked with the Center to develop the “Reel Connection” campaign.

The initiative, which debuted in 2018, raises awareness of broken father-child relationships.

One lucky father and child are selected to experience a memorable fishing trip led by Hite, a Bassmaster champion and Bassmaster Hall of Fame member.

“I made my living fishing, but even as a child, to fish first and foremost with my dad was some of our greatest times,” said Hite

The Center works to “remove obstacles and create opportunities” by “educating fathers, advocating for support, cultivating success, investing in futures, and consulting communities.”

“I’ve heard heartfelt testimonies from fathers that the center has helped,” said Hite. “I’ve seen tears come out of grown men’s eyes about what a difference it makes and how it has helped them.” 

Since its opening, more than 20,000 dads across the state have participated in the Center’s various programs.

“I think that the vast majority of fathers want to be good dads, but for whatever reason, they may not know-how. Or they may not financially be able to do what they wish they could do,” said Hite. “These are issues that the Center tries to help fathers overcome.”

Hite believes that fatherless homes are the root of many issues in society.

According to him, data shows that 90% of all homeless, runaway children, 85% of the youth in prisons, and 71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.

Now retired from professional fishing and serving as a commentator on the nationally televised Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament trail, Hite continues to use his platform and love for fishing to raise awareness for men who hope to become better fathers.

“A father-child relationship is huge,” said Hite. “I just try to reach out and make more people aware.”

For more information about the Center and how to register for the “Reel Connection” campaign raffle, visit scfathersandfamilies.com.

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