Friday, October 14, 2011

First Fish Feature

Do you remember your first fish?  My mother was an avid fishermanwoman, whatever, and would often take off on a fishing exhibition anytime, day or night.  For her it was all about location.  Going down to the local fishing hole dangling your rod over your shoulder and sporting a sack lunch was OUT-OF-THE- QUESTION.  The "perfect" location was usually down a steep bank with a rocky barely-there shoreline.  That in itself probably would be manageable once we were set-up and established in our spot, but my mother was never actually set-up or established.  To begin with we would spend the first hour or so carving steps in the side of the bank to haul down her fishing gear.  And the gear came in great abundance.  I guess you never know what's going to be biting that day and you must be prepared with the proper rig, or is it jig?  Apparently, I didn't have much interest in the whole "sport."  Not only did my mother have an arsenal of gear, she packed enough food for twenty people.  (note:  I'm an only child,  the total count was, at the most, three.)  We would haul down massive coolers full of potato salad, coleslaw, pork and beans, burgers, dogs, chips, and every condiment thinkable.  Plus, coolers of beer and soda.  Three hours post arrival our life's belongings were perched among rocks, boulders, tree stumps, and much brush.  Alas, the lines are casted out (or whatever that's called), we drop in our lawn chairs (wobbling on unstable ground), look around at mother nature, and sigh with relief.  Unfortunately, the moments of tranquility are short lived.  Snagged line.  I try to avoid the pleading puppy-dog-eyes by not making eye contact, but then I hear in the sweetest motherly voice there is, "Robin, my line is snagged.  Would you please."  So I find myself wading out in slimy, mucky, fish smelling, water to untangle a line that has hooked itself on a fallen tree branch.  This pretty much sets the stage for the whole day.  Adding in the fact that back then sunscreen was just for geeks.  Not good news for this tender Northern flesh.  The sun was NOT my friend.

I do remember the feeling of catching that first whopper though.  Adrenalin flowing way too fast to even keep up with the auctioneer-style sideline tips on how to reel the big guy in coming from over my shoulder.  Oh, the pressure.  Then, there it is dangling from the line.  A moment of pride, quickly taken over by my own unexpected gasp at the sight and sound of "Whack!"  Off went his head.  Minutes later mother was offering up some fresh grilled fillets.  Ugh!  The poor guy.  I'm wayyyy too sensitive for this sport.

My granddaughter, now three, recently caught her first fish.  She was giddy with excitement.  Even anxious to touch it and take a closer look.  When the little guy finally took it's last breath she was right there taking it all in.  I told her the little fishy must have went to sleep.  Her explanation, "Nah grandma, he's just dead."  So much for sensitivity.

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