Friday, March 30, 2007

For the love of fishing

So, after I met my (then future) boyfriend and established that he was adorable and we actually had some viewpoints in common, I asked our mutual friend for some details about this boy. This friend, being the quintessential male, had little to give me. Just, "He likes to fish."

Interesting, I thought. I've never fished. Hmmm.... Then my friend said, "No he really likes to fish."

The first time I went to my boyfriend's apartment and saw the stacks of "In Fisherman" magazines I got an inkling of what my friend meant.

So it wasn't long until I was taken on my first fishing trip. My boyfriend even bought a little fishing pole just for me. (I wanted the one with Snoopy on it, but he insisted on getting a real one. Bummer.)

He woke me up at 5:00am on a Saturday the day of fishing. Even Starbucks isn't open that early. I was not happy. But he was as giddy as I've ever seen him, so I decided to be a good sport. This could be fun, right? Right??

He had put the lure and the line on my pole the night before. Since I had never been fishing before, I was figuring on catching fish about the size of the guppies I usually see on the edges of ponds. You know, about the size of my pinkie. I thought the hook on the end of my line was a bit extreme. It was bigger than the fish I was figuring I would catch!

When we get to the pond, I quickly learned that I had to be quiet. Once I was shown the fundamentals of casting, there was no real interaction....until I caught my first fish.

To me, this fish was HUGE! In reality, he was probably a little less than a pound. Still, I had caught him! I was so proud. I promptly dubbed him 'Alex,' and had my boyfriend take him off the hook. We then returned Alex to his home. (Ever the environmentalist, my boyfriend always does the catch and release thing. Being a lover of all animals (and fish apparently) I had no problem with this.) I decided that I was going to name the fish that I caught in alphabetical order until we were done. I was laughed at (I think it was one of those "you're such a girl" indulgent laughs) and warned that sometimes you don't catch many fish at all.

After Bart was caught about 5 minutes later, and Carl about 10 minutes after that, and I had my boyfriend take both of them off the hook, I realized that he hadn't yet caught anything.

To be fair, he was going after the big five-pound bass further in the pond. They're a bit harder to catch. I was just happy to catch anything.

When Louis was caught, and my fishing partner had only caught Alex, I sensed that he might be getting a bit annoyed with having to take the fish off my hook every 10 minutes or so. I figured it was time to stand up and be a woman. So when Matt came up on my line, I mimicked what I had seen, and attempted to remove the hook from his mouth.

Ten traumatizing minutes later, Matt was back in the water and I was in tears.

When my boyfriend came over to see what had happened, I explained that A) I had no idea that bass had teeth, and B) Matt had proved a wiggly little fella and actually went back into the pond under his own power after bouncing on the grass for a while. I was sure I had killed him. (He swam off, much to my relief.) I again got the "you're such a girl" indulgent laugh and he went off to try to catch Bernadette - the five pounder that we could both see, but who didn't seem interested in his line at all.

After Omar, I decided to call it a day (yes, my boyfriend removed both Nathan and Omar from the hook - at this point, the annoyance was obvious.) As the morning had progressed, it had been longer and longer between fish, and I was tired. Around noon, we finally got to leave.

Noon. That's six hours. And I think we would have stayed longer had I not mentioned (several times) that I needed lunch. I mean, I was trying to be the good girlfriend, but after six hours, I figured my duty was done. I had also learned that bug spray was actually invented FOR fishermen, and after 6 hours, it loses its potency. Even if you put it on again. It's either that, or the mosquitos become immune. Or mutants. Either way, I wanted air conditioning with no bugs.

My boyfriend had ended up catching Corey. I had caught Omar. We don't talk about that.

What we do talk about is how resiliant fish are, and how I'm a strong woman. I should have no problem with a little thing like taking the hook out of a fish's mouth.

I've gotten better. I'll take the fish off the hooks (I would still rather someone else do it.) But I still just fish to catch anything. From half a pound to a pound and a half. I don't care. My boyfriend is always on the prowl for the "big one." We fish together about twice per summer. Twice out of the 75 times he goes (and that's a conservative estimate) He's explained that it's different when he's with the boys. I understand. Rollerblading alone is different than rollerblading with him. I get it. But in the back of my mind, I can't help but think....

Perhaps he just doesn't want to be beaten by a girl

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