(BEWARE- Horrible puns ahead! Proceed with caution.)
Let me start by explaining that I am no fisherwoman. Not at all. Fishing has never interested me. I love being on the water, being on boats, and drinking beer in the daytime, but the finishing part has just never appealed to me. I'm not good at being quiet or patient. I'm not careful enough to be trusted with sharp hooks.
The only memory I have of fishing during my growing up years was when my dad took us out off of Chincoteague Island. As I remember it, on that trip, after however many hours of us not catching anything, we returned to the marina where dad purchased some fish and threw them at me in the parking lot so I could tell mom that we caught the fish.
So yesterday, when I hit the bayou with Kevin and Virginia, I decided to just go enjoy the company and try not to get too sunburned.
Then I started fishing.
Um, okay, so those of you who know me at all know that I can be quite competitive, especially with myself. I caught a little perch my first cast out. We had to throw it back, but I'd caught it. I was pretty excited! Then I caught a bigger one. We kept it. Then another. Then a googly-eyed something. Then a few more big perch. Then a catfish. Insert wild on-boat dancing here. Then two more catfish. I almost caught a gator at one point! I don't know if Kevin is a fish whisperer or what, but he'd found the spot. We were catching all kinds of stuff. On nearly every cast. No boring. No quiet. It was active and exciting and just a whole lot of fun. I was hooked (I told you to beware!).
Virginia and I were catching them so fast (and refusing to take them off our own hooks) that Kevin had us open the cooler and he spent most of his time tossing our fish in from the other side of the boat. My spot on the boat was next to the cooler of caught fish.
That's where my perfect day (did I mention that it was a bit overcast for most of the morning so I didn't fry my skin?) went a bit off. I could hear the fish flapping around in the cooler, desperate for their watery homes. It was horrible. So now not only was I ripping apart live worms with my bare hands and jabbing them through with the hook over and over again, but I was also torturing these poor fish for hours as they struggled for life. Um, nice, Erin. Kevin promised me that we'd eat them all, so it wouldn't be a waste, and I decided that was enough to keep me from dumping the cooler over the boat. Also, I might catch something bigger, better. Must keep fishing.
We went on to Kevin's neighbor's fish camp. A true bayou gem. I mean it. So many antlers on the wall, a stuffed bobcat over the door, and a toilet that you flush with a bucket of bayou water. I know my photos won't do that place justice. But it was welcome shade from the noon-day sun and a chance to wash my wormy hands. Virginia and I took quick naps on the dock and then we all caught a few more fish and a couple of blue crabs and we headed for home. If I measured the day on the goals I'd set out earlier, to just to enjoy the company of my two good friends and to avoid getting sunburned, I'd completed a very successful day!
That night, we feasted on a dinner of fried fish, boiled crabs, and french fries. It all tasted so great. We talked about the killing of the worms, the catching of the fish, the slow fish death, and the eating of the meal. I told them what I always say when issues of morality and meat/fish-eating come up- science tells me that my teeth were made to eat meat. Also, I find meat tasty. I put those two together and I've always been okay with it.
But I've never had to catch/kill my own meat before.
While we were on the boat, Virginia asked if this was the kind of dominion we were supposed to have over all the animals and beasts and fish and creeping things? I'm not sure. I'm also not sure my old answer to the meat eating question is going to continue to work for me.
Got a lil' more fishin' to do....