Gone Fishing

“Gone fishing” was one a few childhood traditions I shared with my father.

“Oh, how sweet”, you are thinking, father/daughter bonding.

That would be a HELL NO it wasn’t sweet, folks. My mom used to make him take me to get a break (from moi?! I cannot imagine why!) My Dad would agree because he wanted to fish. Eventually these trips morphed into a form of on-location punishment for my (and likely Dad’s) bad behavior.

I was 30 and married before someone (JB) pointed out that fish don’t actually have ears, therefore voiding Dad’s argument of “you’ll scare the fish” as a reason for why I couldn’t talk.

If you’ve met me IRL (or guessed from my problem with short blogs posts) I talk, a lot. Thus far, in this family, Zach is the only one who can give me true competition for long-winded, one-sided monologue-esque conversations about nothing.

So minimal talking on these father/daughter trips.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the technique criticisms; the inherent wrongness of my cast, reel, cast method instead of his preferred method of cast, sit for a thousand-million minutes, reel, cast. And this was back in the days of SPF 10… and me with my auburn hair. On the water.

Giving him a little credit, it was hard, I guess, for a swamp rat (Southern Louisiana born and bred) to watch his mostly city-bred-girl-child so utterly fail at the art of fishing.

See, I enjoy fishing. Now. Well, I like to… yes— cast, reel, cast. I still suck at bobber-watching. My adult attention span is not significantly longer than my 5 year old self’s attention span.

Short attention spans plus JB’s unfortunate overuse of general pronouns. Poor kids.

Put one hand over there, the other hand on that and swing it behind you. No, no, no— watch the hook so you don’t catch her over there.


“Your left hand goes on the pole, and the thumb of your right hand holds the button down. Swing the whole rig over your shoulder, kind of like a baseball bat– WATCH THE HOOK– then, as you swing the pole forward, take your thumb off the button and let the line fly.

Listening to JB, I mentally replaced “Zach” with “Stephanie”, and time-traveled back to 1981:
“ZACH– you have to sit still, be patient. See that bobber? It will go under water, and THEN you reel in. DON’T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE BOBBER.”

“ZACH– stop dipping/dragging/swinging your pole along.”

“ZACH– just let me cast it for you.”

Is anyone surprised that Zach wanted to “go sit with Mommy?”

I let him cast, reel, cast. Sure, in a few years he might need to be more serious. But, d’uh, before a child can get more serious, the child has to not view the activity as a circle of hell. Continually yelling at them to stop doing the fun part is not the way.

One of those fishing trips with Dad, a five year old me was smiling big. Dad was complaining about constantly needing to re-worm my hook. Because contrary to all of his tersely delivered fishing instructions, my twitchy, jerking, constant casting/reeling method was actually catching fish.

You see, son– what you need to do here…

Zach, how you gonna catch that fish?

Elliot, bored with the whole thing, discovers all of the neat-o stuff kept in a tackle box.

Elliot, liberating a container of red wigglers. Bad timing on my part, the vermicomposting bin building project the day before a fishing trip.

Look– it’s me and he! And one several straw hats I’ll be sporting over the summer.

See the arrow? See the worm? This was his first solo cast, people.

Hell, it made it into the water. He got much better at it as the morning moved forward.

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