Fishing is a hobby that my husband and I have shared for the last 20 years. I had to learn all the rules and techniques, but there were some that were not covered in the fishing handbook. As a woman, I had to learn some things on my own.
I found this picture of our grandson and I had to laugh, as it reminded me of how green I was when I started fishing. I wanted the big girl pole but still had the pacifier in my mouth, trying to learn all the do’s and don’ts concerning fishing. There are certain techniques one does to catch a fish. Some may get lucky at times but having the right bait, the time of day, the type of hook, is something I had to learn.
Not only did I have to learn these techniques, but began to have some concerns of my own. One of my first worries was how to fix my hair. If we are to be out on the lake or on the shore, there was no telling whom I may run into. My husband would generally throw on his fishing cap, and be on his merry way.
I, however, had to ask myself some important questions. Do I put my hair up in a cute ponytail? Do I put it up in a hat? Which hat should I wear? Will it match my shirt? I addressed this concern with my husband, but he assured me there was no fashion police on the water.
I found out quickly that long nails and fishing do not go together too well. My husband believed in learning by doing but after getting worm poo under my nails, I really did not feel this was beneficial to me becoming a great angler. I decided to pull out my handbook, and it advised me to apply my womanly charms by using the pouty look.
With the pouty lips protruding, I would look at my better half and plead my case, “Honey, uh…I just cannot seem to get this little wiggly thing on, can you help me?”
He would happily bait my hook, and my nails were no longer a concern.
My next worry was a rather awkward one. I would find myself out on the lake, in a small boat without the luxury of a restroom nearby. I found my husband was not happy to pull up all his fishing lines to take me to the ladies room. Men, however, have used an old technique that has worked for centuries. Without going into details, let me say, it appears much simpler for men.
We, as woman, have a dilemma. Therefore, I created my own way of dealing with restroom issues. A bucket and a light blanket for privacy in extreme emergencies worked fine. I do offer a word of caution. Make sure no one is around, as you do not want to be arrested for indecent exposure. I used to have visions of reading the paper the next morning, only to read the headlines, “Local Granny Arrested for Peeing in the Boat.”
It was important for me to fish well, wanting my husband to be proud of me, but casting was not easy to learn for me. I would repeat my husbands word to myself, “just cast, and release.” Casting and releasing my finger on the reel was easy but keeping the fishing pole in my hand was another story. The fishing pole just seemed to slip out of my hand. Thankfully, we were able to retrieve almost all fishing poles.
I have had some issues with my husband telling me what to do. I just think that as his wife, I should have had equal say as to where I cast my line. Granted, I was the best at snagging my lines but I have to say, my husband had the patience of Job. He never got mad or frustrated at me. He would just let me rest awhile, until he could get me unsnagged. I would wait, wait some more, and then wait a bit longer, until he would finally put down his pole, unsnagging me. This wife was not born yesterday, I did finally get it, “you snag…you wait!”
There was one rule that I was not privy too and I learned it the hard way. Do not touch his fishing pole! You would have thought I shot a hole in his boat or something. There were six poles hanging off the boat and I thought I would fish with the one that had a pretty, green color.
I realized, as soon as I had touched it, that I should not have touched his pole. A look of shock and terror came over his face. It was if I had crossed a line and there was no going back. I looked at him with his pretty, green, pole in my hand, feeling as if I had better put it down slowly or things were going to get ugly fast. Quickly and without a word, I placed it back in the holder.
I have asked to see this rule in the fishing handbook but have not had the privilege. I figured out there must be a hidden code among anglers and I just missed the boat on this one. Enough said, I totally get it, his pole, and end of story.
I have to say fishing was not all about rules and regulations. There were times that I experienced beautiful moments while fishing. My favorite memory was to sit in front of the boat as we glided our way across the shiny water at six am in the morning. The sun would be coming up, offering a brilliant sunrise to behold. The wind would be blowing through my hair, truly a miniature Titanic adventure.
I found that riding in a boat did not have clear guidelines, so I had to create my own. The weather must be warm and my mind in a good place. When there is, an over cast and cold, I do not find this to be a pleasurable experience. Being cold and wet, having my bum froze, as it hits hard against the boat seat, did not make for a wife happy.
I would hear my husband’s voice in my head, “Honey, what a perfect day for fishing, warm and sunny.”
I would think to myself, sure honey, just push me over board, at least my bum would quit hurting. Remind me to give you your layoff notice in the weather department.
Storing live fish in the cooler, knowing in a few hours, they would be dinner, took getting used too.
I would peek in occasionally to see if they were all right, “Are you okay little fishy?”
My husband would warn me to leave them alone but I could not help it. I just wanted to know if they were still breathing. I learned that this fisherman did not allow mingling with the fish. My husband has tried many times to teach me how to clean fish but that was something I had no desire to do. I knew the moment I learned to clean fish, he would have me cleaning them all the time and maybe for the rest of my life. I vowed to myself that this would be the one thing that I would stay blissfully ignorant.
After 20 years and many lessons from my husband concerning fishing, he still ties my lines, unsnags me, puts the wiggly thing on the hook, and lets me pee in his boat. I think there is something to say about that, when a man will still tie your lines after 20 years.