I learned how to fish when I was 4 years old. My grandparents have owned two catfish ponds for as long as I’ve been alive, so that’s what I know how to fish. I love fishing the ponds since they are surrounded by pine trees and it is so relaxing just to cast a hook into the water and wait.
My grandpa, aunts, and uncles all had a hand in teaching me. They successfully taught me to bait a hook and cast it. I even quickly learned how to properly reel in a fish once it took the bait. Then they hit my stubborn streak.
I refused to learn how to take a fish off a hook. I was even more against cleaning them so they could be eaten.
I think I was 10 years old before I realized why I hated to take the fish off the hooks. I saw all my family get “hit” by the catfish fins more than once and thought that it was silly to get yourself hurt for food that you didn’t really need. Once I realized why I was so wary, I decided that my grandpa’s thick gardening gloves protected my hands enough that I started handling that task myself.
I have yet to gut a fish. I enjoy eating fried catfish and will keep people company if they are cleaning them to be our dinner, but if I am on my own, I am a catch and release fisherman. Killing and skinning and gutting just seem like too much trouble to me when we have perfectly good food in the house anyway.
I thought about cleaning a fish one time. We went on an 8 hour deep sea fishing trip out of Galveston when I was about 19 years old. I caught a big fish about an hour and a half into the trip, and then sea sickness hit me for the next 6 hours. It had to be the worst trip ever for me, but I refused to throw back the one and only fish I caught since it signified the only fun part of the whole day. I resolved to keep it, clean it, and eat it…but thankfully there were guys back at the dock that would clean and fillet our catch for $1 per fish. I quickly paid to have it done and ate the fillets with my husband-to-be the next day. So my stubborn streak continues.
So there you have it. I like the process of fishing but I don’t usually revel in the work involved after the catch. I keep count though. The most catfish and perch that I’ve caught in one day – 23! It took 4 1/2 hours and I could have caught more if I hadn’t gotten bored. They must have been starving or something because my little sister even caught one that day – her first caught fish ever – on an UNBAITED hook dangling off the pier…she was so proud.
Have you ever been fishing? What do you enjoy about it?