Friday, May 7, 2010

Fishing

Just saw that a member of the production crew for Deadliest Catch has been arrested on suspicion of dealing cocaine in Alaska.  No comment on that.  There's an idiot in any given population sample, and apparently this company is no exception.



Irish Woman is fascinated by the show, and watches pretty much every week when new episodes air.  But I grew up watching Norwegians fish.  Why would I spend an hour of my adult life doing it some more?  My grandfather left a life as a fisherman in Norway to shovel horse manure and never looked back. That's how hard a life being a deep sea fisherman is.  It's better to clean out horse stalls for a living than to go out on a little boat in a big ocean and try to find fish.

Don't get me wrong.  Those fishermen risk their life to make a living doing dangerous and dirty work in horrific conditions.  Looking at what these guys go through for crab makes me appreciate my seafood dinner more.  They are some of the last true hunters left in our food chain.  All of the other meat that we eat is raised specifically for meat production.  These guys have to find, fix, and fetch just like our ancestors used to, with no guarantee of success.

When I was not much older than BooBoo is now, my father put a pole in my hand, put a worm on a hook, and threw my red and white bobber out into Lake Darling.  I would catch perch, and he would sit on the bank, drink PBR, and smoke Camels while pulling northern and walleye pike out of the lake. 

As I got older, the trips became less and less frequent, mostly due to his never being home due to work on the railroad and a hobby that included women that weren't genetically related to me.  My uncles and older cousins took up a lot of the slack and took me and my brothers fishing quite regularly.  I eventually graduated from bobber to a Red-Devil spoon for northern, which meant I was growing up. 

Catching a pike is kinda like catching a log.  They don't fight and thrash like a bass or crappie.  They just basically pull back with their head and refuse to cooperate.  The line has to be ended with a steel leader so the fish doesn't bite through it.  No mono filament or nylon braid is proof against a pike's teeth.  No finger is for that matter.  If I didn't have a net to pull them up to the bank, I usually just walked backwards the last few feet to pull them up to land and then put them on my stringer.

Once my mom and dad split up I started taking myself down to the river to fish with my friends.  I was old enough, and mom was off doing other things and what she didn't know wouldn't hurt me.

My step-dad fancied himself a sportsman.  He had lots and lots of fishing gear, and lots and lots of rifles and pistols.  Mom followed him to Utah, and I tried to learn how to catch trout.  I never tried fly fishing, but learned to float a salmon egg on a small hook down a stream.  Never did catch a trout, but walking a mile up or down stream from the family campout was a rare moment of peace.

When I grew up, I stopped fishing for the most part.  I had no time early in my career, and fishing in Germany was hard to do and expensive.  As much game as there was in Arizona, fishing in the desert is kinda the definition of insanity.

Once I moved back east, I started fishing again.  It was mostly to have something inexpensive to do since money was tight, and to have some quiet.   The kids started coming along pretty soon.  I learned quickly that if I took the kids, there was no use in taking my own pole.  I spend most of my time baiting and setting their lines, then getting them unsnagged, and then putting their lines back out when they bring them back in for no discernible reason.  I'm not complaining.  I always have a ball when we go, and everyone seems to enjoy themselves, even if it's because of the picnic of sandwiches, junk food, and soda that we bring.

The incident that convinced me to stop worrying about getting my pole in the water happened the first summer I was here in Kentucky.  I picked Girlie Bear and Little Bear up from their mom, and headed to the local flood control lake to try to catch some bluegill.  They had recently gotten their Tasmanian Devil and Tweety Bird fishing poles, and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread to see me put a worm on a hook. Girlie Bear was about 2, and Little Bear was almost 4.    We went to a place that looked promising, which was a rock outcropping that jutted out into deep water.  I put their lines in the water for them, then started setting up my pole to try to catch a bass.  After a few minutes, Girlie Bear lost interest in sitting still and started looking at the little minnows that were coming up to eat her cookie crumbs. 

All I heard was "fishie fishie" and splash.  My darling girl had leaned over the DEEP water and tried to catch a minnow by hand.  She then lost her toddler balance and plopped in head first.  She of course sunk like a rock.  I moved faster than the speed of fright and pulled her out by the only thing that was still in reach, her diapered back end.

She came up coughing, sputtering, and crying.  After making sure she was OK, I rocked her and myself back to coherency.  That was pretty much the end of our day fishing, and Little Bear was well and roundly pissed when I gathered up our stuff and we hiked back to the car.  I made up for it with ice cream, so it evened up for him.

So, since then, I never stop paying attention to the kids when we're fishing.  I thought as Little Bear and Girlie Bear got older I'd get to do more fishing myself, but now that BooBoo is here the cycle is starting again.  No worries though.  I sneak away alone enough that I don't miss fishing when I take the kids.  Either way, it's my favorite way to spend a day during the summer.

2 comments:

Shannon said...

Fantastic segue from immoral drug dealing to precious family memories! I enjoyed this account very much. My kids had the Warner Bros./Disney poles as well, we just never got around to using them simply because I saw no point in it. I was raised near the ocean and now live in the desert...if I'm going to go fishing, it certainly isn't going to be for trout.

Christina LMT said...

Lovely tales, DaddyBear! My parents used to fish from the beach when we lived in Florida, I'd love to take it up someday. Seems like a peaceful way to spend the day, with hopefully some exciting moments thrown in.

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