Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fisherman's Tale

From my early childhood I have loved fishing. This past year I considered starting a fishing club at my school: I would've called it "Da Bait Club" :). I'm not sure why I enjoy it; fishing is overpriced, overly time consuming, incredibly frustrating and at times just plain boring. Sorta like golf. It's not a very efficient hobby to have for anybody, but for our family it's a mystery we haven't given it up long ago. Until yesterday I'd never caught anything larger than 16 inches, and I've been skunked more times than I care to remember. Maybe what draws us in is the family time, or the quiet peacefulness of a river at dusk. Maybe it's the fond memories of the snacks and goodies Dad would bribe us with to impress a love for the hobby in our minds from an early age, sorta like the McDonalds' happy meals and jungle-gyms. Or maybe, just like politicians, we simply refuse to learn from our mistakes. Regardless, my father, brother, and I bought our PA fishing liscences this May with the intent to hit up the shores of local creeks, rivers, and lakes. We'd caught absolutely nothing in the 2 outings since.

So when the 4 men in the family caught a combined 25 perch from the dock in the first day of our vacation this week, we thought we were hot shit. Never mind that the largest of them was only about 10 inches, or that when dad tried to clean them they came out looking more like tater tots than filets. We were seasoned anglers! Veteran aquatic outdoorsmen! Master baiters (immature giggles...)! Yet before my Dad's "Kiss My Bass" baseball cap could be worn in full force, he wanted us to experience what it was like to catch a REAL fish. Like, one we couldn't see from the surface. That we could, like, eat. From, like, a boat. So he hired a charter boat to take us out on the Chesapeake on Saturday to solidify our upward swing in the fishing world.

Remember when I said fishing was overpriced? Well, for a half-day's worth of fishing, this trip cost $550. If, after a half-day's time, we wanted to extend it to a full day (to 3:00 PM), it would be $640. The enticing bit was that if we were skunked, we got all our money back. On the way up we were discussing different techniques for setting free a fish in case we got a bite at 2:30 when we still hadn't caught anything, because the only thing more unlucky than catching 0 fish would be catching 1 fish.

As it turned out, that wasn't a problem: we caught 68 fish. 60 bluefish, 7 striped bass, and 1 mackerel, all between the 15-21 inch range. One of my favorite assigned summer reading books ever was "The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway, but I didn't truly appreciate the depth of that dude's determination until Saturday. Our arms were sore after the first hour, and I doubt anything we caught exceeded 10 or 12 pounds.

Anyway, we'll be eating nothing but fish for the next week, which is fine by me because I love the stuff. Besides, it's got lots of Omega 3 and amino acids, so it's about the healthiest meat out there. Just don't tell PETA: they recently ran an advertisement campaign that read "You wouldn't eat fish if they were called Sea Kittens"...yeah...Actually, I would. And for the record, I would also consider eating a Land Fish.

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