Friday, September 7, 2012


One of the joys of growing up in Utah, aside from the wonder that is cracked and bleeding dry skin, or being taught that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, was waking up on those magical days when your dad wanted to take you "fishing", or, in his words, "beating you senseless with dreary monotony".1

Fishing is sort of like playing baseball: you sit around picking grass waiting for your dad to take you home.

My dad loved fishing because it gave him an excuse to sit around camp on sharp rocks tying knots with invisible fishing line instead of working at his job where he made hundreds of dollars a minute and sat in comfy chairs while people fanned him with palm fronds.

The most important part of fishing is selecting your "bait", or, as they call it in the medical community, "the placebo". Some people would have you believe that it doesn't matter what you put on the end of your line, that you'll never catch a fish in your entire life because A. fish aren't native to the 5x5 ponds that are the only form of water in your desert home state, and B. even if they were, fish usually avoid places where legally blind kids covered in snot are throwing rocks in the water.

I have something to say to those people: you're right.

The second most important part of fishing is filling up your bubble. A bubble is a device which can never be sealed once opened, and helps you fish by spraying water on people behind you whenever you cast.

The best part of fishing, of course, is gutting the fish making your dad gut the fish. Next best is informing your dad that you would rather starve than eat that horrific thing, then listening to him mutter something about disputed paternity.

I love fishing. I must have gone five four three times with my dad, and I loved every minute of those drives away from the mountains.

1. Those were not his words. About fishing at least. Possibly about church. Okay. Definitely about church.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My own father was not particularly into fishing but we still managed to have several fun experiences. On vacation in Guyamas Mexico he bought some line and some hooks (no pole, too expensive and really unnecessary in his mind). With some sardines or other such bait on the hooks we fished in the tide pools along the cliffs. There was no grass to pick at but plenty of sharp rocks to sit on. I caught an eel which proceeded to tie itself in a knot around the line roughly 100 times before expiring. Normally it's the fishing line that gets tangled, this time it was the fish itself. Although I suspect eels are not really fish. But they are tasty! We couldn't untangle it so we had to cut all the line off its head.

Sometime later (probably 6 or 7 hours, I can't recall, I was young and time was plentiful) the line suddenly started moving quickly across the bottom of the tide pool. I couldn't see what was on the end of it so I pulled it up only to reveal a bright pink octopus! I panicked and set the thing down on the rocks so it promptly scampered back into the tide pool, grabbed a rock, and held on for dear life. We never got it out again so we lost some more line and another hook. But encouraged we tried again and eventually landed another octopus which was even tastier than the eel. Still not a fish.

The next adventure was to string the line with hook over the stern of our little sailboat. It was built for 3 people but our whole family of 4 piled in and we sailed it out of the harbor into the ocean. Sailing was fine until we snagged something so big on the line that it was pulling the boat around. (I am not making this up!) Unable to raise whatever sea monster had hooked onto our line we again had to cut it. At the harbor later we learned that there were many groupers in that water and that some "real" fisherman had just raised a 900lb one that day. Fishing is like dating in the sense that there's always a story about the one that got away. In this case we were happy because there would not have been room for it in the boat.

Again undeterred we continued fishing eventually landing a few scorpion fish. These also proved to be quite tasty in spite of their poisonous spines which my younger brother managed to get stuck with while sharing the small boat with our flopping catch.

My mom, an incredibly patient woman especially in all matters concerning my dad, was rewarded for her patience by being dumped in the water as we attempted to land our too small sailboat on the beach. We did keep the fish in the boat however and my mom eventually forgot about the dumping incident and cooked them for us. After my father gutted them.