2013-01-10 / General Stories

The Hazards of Fishing

It must’ve rained last night because there are squirrels and ducks and birds (oh, my!) in my backyard, foraging for the worms and insects the rain always draws from the ground.

My cats are there as well, surveying the scene. They probably think they’ve died and gone to cat heaven. I can see it on their bewhiskered faces: “There are so many feathered fritters here, I can’t decide which one is going to be my breakfast!”

Which reminds me, I need to feed the cats.

Soon, my children will rise and begin foraging for worms as well. Not to eat, of course. I do have Froot Loops in the cupboard. The reason they want the worms is because they want to go fishing.

This is where I begin rooting for the birds. “Eat! You little feathered feasters! Eat!” The less worms left on the ground, the better, because my children won’t stop fishing (and I use that term loosely) until the worms are gone. The longer they fish, the more pants we have to burn. I suspect this might need some explaining.

Fishing should be a relaxing pastime, I know, and it is, unless you are fishing with children. The first thing to be done is to make sure the poles are fish-worthy. You grab the first fishing pole from the heap they were left in the last time they went fishing. It can’t be done. The cluster of poles is not willing to give up one of their own. They seem to say: “You take us all, or you take nothing!”

You look at the tangled maze of fishing line, rusty tackle, dried up bait, & bobbers. Apparently, this is the perfect habitat for all manner of tiny arachnids to make their home as well. Ew! You grab all of the poles, just to break up the party, and because you don’t have a choice. Then you line them up on the floor. It’s difficult to tell the spider webs from the fishing line, but eventually, you’ve got them separated and equipped with the correct tackle.

Now for the hard part. Oh, you thought that was the hard part. That’s funny! No, the hard part is watching these young children flailing rods, lines and hooks hither and yon with no apparent goal in mind other than perhaps hooking one of their siblings.

As parents, we run around baiting hooks and yelling, “Keep it in the water!” and “Watch your bobber!” and “Didn’t you go before we left the house?”

Eventually, miraculously, one of them manages to hook a blue gill. Rather than reel it in, her brain stops functioning entirely, and she lifts the entire eight feet of line, fish and all, up out of the water. As my husband runs to help with the net, she swings around, staring at the fish, and hits him in the head with her pole. The nowswinging fish wraps the line around his leg. At his howl, the other would-be fishers pivot in unison to trap him between the lethal, bait-laden lines. He swerves, the worm bucket tips over, his shoe gets caught in the net and down he goes. The next thing he knows, he’s sitting with a blue gill flapping in his lap and a dozen well-flattened night crawlers between the ground and his backside.

“I caught a fish!” she yells. Somehow, the joy on her face is worth having worm guts plastered all over your backside. I think, though, rather than laundering those pants, we’d better just burn them.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.

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