I am not a feminist. I have no desire to be liberated, thank you very much. But who said that fishing was only for men? I don’t mind being called a fisherman, but the term is somewhat exclusive. Before we bought the boat, my fishing experience consisted of one trip about 18 years ago with my then-boyfriend Jay, and our mutual friends, all boys. I sort of snuck in and ruined their boys’ fishing trip. Actually, I had a great time—better than Jay, who was hot and seasick the whole day. And as a bonus, I caught a yellowtail snapper that we fried up for dinner. That was the first and last fish I caught. Until this past Sunday.
People will do a lot of things for love. For example, I have no great love for Lego bricks—I stink at building, and my clumsy hands are always breaking the cool things the boys bring to show me—but I love my boys, so now I love Lego. I think ponies are dumb and I hate painting toe-nails pink (don’t tell Sarah), but sign me up if it means spending some sweet time with my daughter. And fish are slimy, strange, wriggling creatures that taste nice but are more interesting at the local aquarium than on a hook. But we are a boating family, and my kids love to fish. Even Sam, now two, has a pole and a hook-less jig which he casts and reels for hours at a time. So far, we’ve had pretty bad luck with fishing. Jay caught a Spanish Mackerel once, Eli caught a really neat shark, and Sarah caught a tiny Red Snapper, but it’s been mostly catfish. The oldest child is keeping a tally in his notebook, and I am losing badly. So in addition to loving my kids, my competitive drive led me to accept an offer to take a “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” seminar with Mary and Lisa.
As it turns out, fishing is a lot of fun. After a half-day of classroom instruction and an afternoon of skill practice stations (everything from knot-tying to casting, gaffing and de-hooking), we went out with a guide for a morning of inshore fishing. By lunchtime, we had caught a dozen fish at least, many of them keepers, including Sheep’s Head, Sea Bass, Ladyfish, Jack, and Florida Pompano. The guide was an old salt with all the sweet spots and fishing secrets, many of which he happily shared with we three novices, and by the end of the day, we were all fast friends and not bad fishermen, either.
I can’t wait to get back out on the water and try out some of the new techniques and pass the newfound secrets on to my children. Eli can add a half dozen tally marks to my name, and maybe we’ll even catch dinner!