How many of you out there like to go fishing? How many women do you know who like to fish also? My Mom is a city girl, raised in Chicago. When she married my Dad she had never even been camping, let alone fishing. If she only knew what she had let herself in for!
The first time that she went fishing and camping was with four kids and my Dad. We started her out on little beaver ponds. Lots of fish, and lots of action. 'Course the fish were brook trout and very fun to catch -- and more fun to eat.
So, my Dad had her setting on a little hill, right up against this nice beaver pond. He showed her how to cast her line out in the pond, and told her to watch this little bobber on the water. If it started to move or bobbed in the water, she was to give the pole a little yank backwards. He proceeded to catch a fish on her pole, gave a little yank, and reeled in this real nice brookie. He re-baited her hook and cast the line out in the middle of the pond. He then handed her the pole, and said that it was her turn. So she had the pole in her hands and my Dad said that he would be at the next pond.
One of my sisters and I were on the other side of the pond that Mom was fishing. We had our lines in the water. All of a sudden, Mom let out this sort of scream! Well, not really a scream, more like a holler and scream combined. The bobber in the water was going up and down. She was standing on this hill and she hollered at us kids, "What should I do!?" We, of course, hollered across the pond to set the hook, which means that you are supposed to give a little yank backward on the pole, which will set the hook, and then you can reel in your fish.
Well, this being her first time. . . I know how excited one can get when they get that first fish! She was at the base of the hill, and was making these little funny sounds. We found out later she was saying to herself, "Now what? Now what?" Well, we hollered at her again to set the hook.
She set the hook all right. She gave the pole a yank and that poor fish came out of that beaver pond like a rocket. It cleared the water, went over her head, went flying up the hill, and disappeared from sight. My sister and I just stood there with our mouths open. Thank God the 'skeeters were not out, 'cause we would of had mouths full.
Now she was whooping and hollering for my Dad, and my sister and I were laughing our heads off! My Dad came over and wanted to know what was going on. Mom said with pride that she caught a fish! My Dad asked where it was at. She said, "OH!" then turneds around to face uphill and proceeded to reel in her fish from the top of the hill. She dragged that fish through the dirt, the sagebrush, rocks, and maybe even a cow patty or two.
Once she had it reeled in, she held it up proudly to show Dad. He was kind enough not to laugh out loud like my sister and I were doing. He took that fish, kind of wiped it off, and told her that it was a nice catch. He cleaned it for her, and put it in his creel. We fished for a while longer, then it was time to head back to camp. After all the fish had been cleaned we decided to cook them up for dinner.
Dinner was real nice: fresh fish, rice, and cornbread. Mom said that her fish was the best that she had ever had. And our Dad couldn't keep it in any longer. He smiled, said "I love you, and I'm glad that you liked your fish so much 'cause it was spiced up by the time you reeled it in from the hill." He told her all he had to do was brush a few sticks and some grass from it, gut it, and cook it up. He told her that he had to put salt and lemon pepper on everyone else's fish.
We all laughed and Mom finally did, too.
To this day, Mom sets the hook the same way. Later, when they lived in Arkansas, my Dad had a big bass boat and would take Mom fishing with him. They would be out on the lake, with her at the front of the boat and him at the back. They would talk and laugh and they would catch fish. The only thing was -- every time she had a fish bite, she would set the hook just like she did all those years ago, except then she scared the you-know-what-out of my Dad! When she would yank the pole to set the hook, she would yank the fish right out of the water on her side of the boat, and it would land back in the water on Dad's side. That action made the boat rock really bad, to the point of swamping the boat.
But, she always got her fish. Dad said that every time she caught a fish he thought that the boat was going to tip over. He said he never ever caught his limit of fish after that. He was too busy hanging onto the boat while Mom fished.
If any of you would like to learn to fish, there is a good Web site that you can look at. They teach how to fly fish. Check them out: www.womensflyfishing.net. (It's not just good for women -- it's good for anyone.)