For this post, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to the time when my then boyfriend taught me how to fish. It’s a tale of frustration and triumph. I can’t help but laugh every time I think back to how ridiculous we must’ve looked out there trying to fish in the dark.
To set the stage, I’ve only had two real fishing experiences growing up. The first was when I was 4 years old and we were using my dad’s super secret bait—beans and cheese. I’m sure you’re surprised to learn it didn’t work and we caught no fish. The second experience was when I was a 14 year old who wanted nothing to do with forced family bonding time. We spent a few hours at a lake, but no one caught a fish then either. This meant, I had never dealt with actually catching a fish.
Fast-forward to now. My boyfriend at the time tells me we’re going fishing this weekend. I was excited. I hadn’t been in over a decade and wanted to learn more about his favorite hobby. With the word “weekend,” I assumed we were going Saturday morning. He, however, had other ideas. Night fishing, his favorite. When we got to the lake, the sun was setting and I took in how pretty it was. We had a secluded lake out in the country all to ourselves. It seemed like it would be a good night of fishing. We started setting up our spot, getting out the lantern and spotlight for when the sun went down. We covered ourselves with bug spray since the bugs were out in swarms. Pro tip: Don’t get bug spray on your lips, they get all numb and tingly. Plus it tastes repulsive.
My first task was to learn how to bait the hook with worms. I’ve never had a problem with worms. Digging in the dirt at recess was pretty normal growing up. My friends and I heard if you cut them in half they’d grow back whole, so obviously we had to experiment. Young curious minds! This meant grabbing a worm to put on the hook wasn’t bad… until I stabbed it on the hook and the thing squirmed between my fingers. I’m sure I’d squirm too if someone was trying to poke me with a hook! But I had a job to do, and after a little bit of finagling the worm was securely on the hook.
The next lesson, how to cast the line. This I vaguely knew and was decent at, if memory served me right. Well… my memory was wrong, very wrong. My boyfriend said to cast it straight in front of me. I brought my arm back, then forward and let go of the line with my finger… and watched it as it veered far to the right, almost into a bunch of lily pads. I can’t tell you what happened, other than I wasn’t the best and my boyfriend really didn’t like the line being that close to the lily pads. I tried again, carefully focusing on what I needed to do. This time, the line actually went straight! And right smack dab in the water a mere three feet from my shoes. In a nutshell, I was awful. By this point, the sun had nearly set and the night sky was becoming our only light.
For some reason, I couldn’t grasp the concept of letting the line out slowly. I say it’s because I couldn’t see what I was doing. My boyfriend maintained he could see great in the dark, unfortunately I’m not equipped with the natural gift of night vision. My boyfriend was annoyed that I either let the line out too fast or wasn’t holding the reel correctly to let it out. I can’t tell you what I was doing because I couldn’t see the seemingly foreign object in my hand. The realization started to sink in—I knew nothing about fishing.