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Drowning worms …

I love to fish. At least I think I do. I have children, so I don’t remember any more. Kids do that to a person ... about more than just fishing.

Way back in BC (before children) I caught panfish that were too big for the pan. I could smell frying trout even before the lure hit the water. I remember a day ending as the sun hit the horizon, just as the largest bass I ever caught hit the popper that I had plopped expertly next to a submerged stump ... on 10 lb. line ... and it was THIS big.

The last thing that I actually fished out of the lake was my daughter. She had slipped on a rock as she was wading and pretending to fish. I will admit, she was getting the knack of casting before the water, the birds, a turtle, a fish skeleton on the shore, and the remains of our packed lunch got her attention. Before the knack was getting there, the safest place for me to stand was not behind her. Actually, it wasn’t even beside her. I think the safest place was back in the car.

On our last outings, I supervised closely so that nobody took an unscheduled bath. No one went too long with a tangled line. Nobody else would (ooh, yuck, creepy, not me) put a worm on a hook ... or hook their finger. When they did catch fish, the lucky bums, I would take the fish (ooh, yuck, creepy, not me) off of the hooks. Reels don’t break down when being checked in your backyard. They break down when your kid is wading 15 feet out, you don’t know where the deeper holes are, another kid is also in need, and a fish is on the end of the line. I hate wading and stepping on something that quickly swims away.

I never once was jabbed by a fish spine before I had kids. Since, I remember once when I got poked by a bullhead. I jerked my hand back and ended up throwing that little guy further than I’ve ever thrown a baseball. Splash – “Daddy threw my fish away! Sob!” I never put a hook bard below my skin before I had kids. Now I wear gloves and carry a pair of pliers. I never used to catch and release before I had kids. Now, the “my huge trophy fish” that was around 6-1/8 inches long “was thrown back by Dad because he didn’t want to cook it.” Yeah, right, one fish and a family of five. Fish don’t have eyelids, but I swear they wink at me in a gloating manner when I throw them back.

My kids are squeamish in baiting hooks. They are squeamish in taking fish off of hooks. But, the black slime on rocks, dung beatles, and petrified fish on shore are great to play with. Then, my kids quizzically wonder why I want them to wash their hands before they began handing out the sandwiches. They take my pop out of the cooler, temporarily set it on the hot car hood, and then forget to bring it to me. “Daddy, did you leave the suntan lotion on the table at home?”

One day we fished while an older man stretched out all day under