When we first got married I suggested we go fishing one weekend. I was sure he would love it; didn’t he watch bass fishing tournaments on tv after all? Of course he did.
“Hey babe, let’s go fishing!”
“I don’t know how to fish.”
“Huh? You’re kidding me…aren’t you?”
“Honey--I’m from Beverly Hills, and I have never fished. Ever.”
I can hardly believe my ears, I married a man who had never experienced the glory of fishing. H-m-m-m. Then a light bulb appeared and I smiled. It sounds like the perfect opportunity to introduce him to the wonderful world of fishing. “Are you game?”
“Sure.” His eyes never left the basketball game.
He said that with as little sincerity as I had ever heard him muster for one of my ideas. But it would not dampen my enthusiasm for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I knew it could be great; we could go up to Big Bear Lake, rent a small cabin and spend the weekend, lazily fishing for crappie, blue gill or bass. The only problem being we had zip, zero, nada in the fishing equipment department. Hey, no big problem. I could introduce him to the big, wide wonderful world of Big Five Sporting Goods too. A way to combine shopping and fishing, this was going to be even so much more fun!
We spent somewhere in the vicinity of $300 that weekend; on poles, a fishing tackle box, assorted lures, worms, spare hooks, fishing line, sinkers, read and white bobbers... the whole fishing isle basically. We were going to be ready...apparently at any cost! (That would become our routine every time we went fishing...buy all new stuff. Apparently that was half of the appeal of fishing for him.)
We made our reservations for a great log cabin and headed up the mountain on a Friday so we could get settled in and wake up bright and early Saturday morning.
It was a gorgeous drive, and the weatherman promised 70’s all weekend. The smell of pines and the fresh air, unlike that in LA, were just what we needed. The cabin was a rustic beauty, it even had a small kitchen and a large fireplace, making it rather romantic too. We stopped at market, bought food for making a picnic lunch to eat lakeside and of course, a cardboard container that held our precious bait; the earthworms.
The next morning we got up before dawn, having already packed up our food; bagels for breakfast, sandwiches, roast chicken, cheese, a baguette and a few pieces of fruit with some sodas and beer to wash it all down. I packed enough to feed us for days in reality; but the great outdoors always makes me hungry and I assumed it would him too.
In the predawn light I put on my “fishing hat” (a perfect hair coverup) and we headed over to pick our “special” spot along the shore. It was a small clearing in the trees, with lake water lapping up, all just steps from where we parked.
My favorite fishing hat.
We fiddled around with the rods and reels the night before; getting the filament wound up, attaching hooks and sinkers. Hubby was totally amazed I knew so much about fishing and their preparations. My dad had done a good thing by treating me equally with my two brothers, forcing me to learn how to do all of the work. He said I had to do the dirty work if I was to have the pleasure too.
I carefully removed the bait box and the brown paper bag with the worms from the back end of our station wagon. I opened the small white cardboard container with all of the reverence my daddy taught me. The rich smell of the earth penetrated all of my senses as I reached into the carton to find a couple of worms. I had no problem, even getting dirt under my nails, which was a necessity if I was going to enjoy the whole experience. Finally I got a hold of two, long, fat pinkish-colored worms and handed one over to Hubby, “Ok, put this on your hook.”
“Eeeeeeeewwww. You will kill it.” He backed away.
“No, it won’t die being stuck, most likely he’ll be eaten (or drown I thought but didn’t announce). I’ll show you how to do it, but after this one, you’ll have to do it.” I maneuvered the wriggly worm onto his hook, making sure it was on there good, so it would not fly off when we cast. Daddy would have been so proud. When I had it secured it, to my satisfaction, I handed him the pole and baited my own line. Finally, we were set.
“Okay honey, cast it out as far as you can, like we practiced. And don’t forget to release the line when you get your arm forward.”
Of course he forgot and the line went nowhere. It takes a certain amount of coordination to do but I knew practice would make perfect…well, almost perfect. “Try it again, watch me first.” I cast out hitting a nice spot about 15 feet from the shoreline, the water rippling outward as the weight of the lead carried it down, until my only bobber was floating on the surface, rippling the water. “See honey? Okay now you try it again.”
It only took a few dozen more casts until he was successful. Then we stood there watching as our gaze never left our bobbers, afraid to move and cause any ground vibrations. Finally, his bobber moved!
“Okay honey, now give it a little tug to set the hook.” I whispered to him.
He tugged all right, as the line came out of the water and flying towards him. I busted out laughing. “That was too hard, you don’t want to yank the bait away from him, or you’ll tear through his mo…”
Before I could finish the sentence mine line bobbed and I gave it a gentle yank and reeled in slowly, feeling the fish fight me some. Wanting him to know how it felt I handed him my reel, once I was sure he could get it in. “Now…slowly, no slack in the line…yes…good, you got him!” The glistening fish was now visible at the surface and Hubby’s eyes bugged out.
“Wow, that was so cool.” He beamed as I took the fish off of the hook and put it onto the string and lowered it into the shallow water. “Aren’t you going to let it go?”
“We will honey, after we catch enough for dinner. This one is big enough to eat. I’d say we need three more.”
Hubby had more luck losing his worms than catching anything, soon we were out of bait. He thought it was so much fun he wanted to stay anyway.
“Okay, I’ll get out the rubber worms.”
He was munching on a piece of fruit. I assumed he would too, but no. Instead he broke off a leftover piece of a bagel and put it onto the hook. I busted up laughing, “You know there are not any Jewish fish here…what are you doing?”
“Well…how do you know they don’t like bagels?”
Good point, I never tried. In fact we tried some of everything in our food stock; apple, popcorn (it melts too quickly), chicken...you name it we tried it. If it made him happy, so be it. Needless to say, he never caught a fish with a bagel, but he also felt smug not having to bait the hook with a live worm.
We did get to have a fish dinner that night...at a restaurant. Let's just say he wasn't very good at cleaning fish.