I do not fish. While many male friends and even female relatives look at me as though this is a personal choice, I have difficulty explaining that I was born this way. I have no desire to catch fish — never have, never will.
This fact was almost a deal breaker when the wife and I were dating. She comes from a long line of fisherpersons.
“What do you mean you don’t fish?” she asked. “Fishing is biblical, for crying out loud.”
“I just don’t feel the need to hook a fish in the mouth, drag it out of the only world it’s ever known and watch it die a slow, painful, gasping death,” I answered.
“Can I just say, you’re weird, really, really weird. Good thing you’re a good kisser, or I’d dump your sorry butt.”
Well, after 40-some years, we’re still together in spite of my fishing deficiencies. (Good thing I’m a good kisser.)
The fishing issue still comes up periodically, as it did just recently. We have a great neighbor (I’ll call him Wally to avoid future litigation) who is an avid fisherman and has an expensive boat and thousands of dollars of equipment to catch fish, which you can buy in crunchy, breaded stick form for $4.98 a box at the grocery. (Without all that unpleasant gasping and dying, I might add.)
Wally found out that the wife loves to fish and loves walleye. “Hey, how about you, the husband and I go fishing for walleye tomorrow? The forecast is perfect, and the walleye are biting.”
“I am so in. But I have to confess something,” the wife said, somewhat embarrassed. “The husband doesn’t fish. He just doesn’t. He says it’s not a choice. He says he was born that way.”
“Good Lord,” Wally said. “Fishing is biblical for crying out loud. Why did you even marry him?”
Still embarrassed, the wife said, “He’s a good kisser.”
At 6 the next morning, the alarm rang, and we were in the car and off to the lake for our fishing expedition.
“What am I supposed to do on a fishing boat while you guys are fishing?” I asked the wife.
“You can snack. You can enjoy an adult beverage. You can appreciate being out on the water soaking up the sun,” the wife suggested.
“That all sounds pretty good to me,” I said.
“I’ll be in the back of the boat hooking fish in the mouth and dragging them out of the only world they’ve ever known.”
When we got to Wally’s boat, I quickly found a seat in the bow to be as far away from the gasping sounds as possible.
“Get behind the wheel, captain,” Wally ordered. “You’re driving the boat while we reel in dinner. And keep an eye on the fish finder and find us some big ones.”
So off we went. And I have to admit, I had a great time finding schools of walleye and listening to Wally and the wife’s excitement as they reeled in fish after fish. They caught their limit in just a few hours. It was biblical.
“Nice job, captain, for someone who wasn’t born that way,” Wally said as we pulled into the dock.
About that time, the wife screamed as she caught a hook in her arm from a dangling lure. Wally had to help unhook her.
Smiling, I said, “You’d better throw her back. You already caught your limit.”
Raul Ascunce is a columnist for the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, a sister paper of The Lima News within AIM Media.