When I became engaged, no one mentioned fishing as a flaw in man's nature. I was warned about poor providers, men with hereditary deformities, lazy ones, atheist, mama's boys and those who ran around. My man was none of these, So I married him.
Perhaps I should have suspected. But I thought that a wild ride down a rain-swollen river in February was standard practice for an engaged couple. I was secure with my love. He thought me brave.
I assumed every bride was taught to handle a fishing rod on her honeymoon. He would say, "Cast over your head. Flip your wrist like you do when you throw a baseball." I couldn't throw a baseball. Besides, I was afraid I would hook that ugly plug in my groom's cheek.
I gave up casting overhand.
I soon found I could - while sitting in the bow of the canoe - cast beautifully from left to right, or right to left in a sidesways slinging motion, like a backhand shot in tennis. "That's not right," he would say. I would innocently remind him that it was my plug that hit in the eddy behind the log, just by the swift water, and it was my hand that reeled in that big bass. How was I to know I wasn't suppose to catch more fish than he did? Besides I like filet fish of bass cooked in coat of cracker crumbs.
But I couldn't clean one. It made me throw up.
We had some wonderful floats down lazy rivers catching all sort of things, I mostly caught rocks. It was difficult for me never to remember to cast upstream from whence we has come. Whenever I hit a snag far behind our canoe, my husband looked kind of wild trying to crank a motor with one hand , reel in hid line with the other - and still trying to guide the canoe between two rocks with hi s knees - yelling at me to play out my line. My line always seem to sort of whip around his head.
I quit fishing. I was getting too pregnant to get in the canoe, anyway.
Our baby was not a fisher-boy. It was a girl like me. My mother came to visit to help with the little. My husband figured it was an excellent time to go fishing. He used to take off after work - even after dark.Mother frown at first, then at 11 o'clock one night accused him of philandering. He just laughed and showed her a long string of crappie, shell crackers, and bream that he had caught by flashlight in a friend's lake. I tried to explain that I had married a fisherman. She didn't understand.
One by one, the children came. One time, when none of them were big enough to take fihing, he planned this great vacaton for the two if us in Britich Honduras. He described a huge bay of crystal clear water no rocks, no rapids, nothing to snag a line on.
We would sleep in a beaitull houseboat and fish in flat-bottomed skiffs with natives to pole us along. And we catch the best 14-inch-long fighting fish known to mam as the bonefish.
"Why do you call him a bonefish?" I wanted to know.
"Because he's so full of tiny bones," he answered.
"Well, how can you eat a fish like that,?"
"Oh, you don't eat bone fish."
I wanted to go to Paris. I went to Honduras. We arrived by plane and continued by mosquito . Those mosquitos were so big you have to shout to hear youself above the whirring. I was really scared when I saw the scow we were to ride in. Happiness settled in, however,when we outran the insect and proceeded to our anchorage in a huge expanse of moonlit water.
We were, he said, in the lap of luxury, with two guides and a cook and nothing to do but fish. That night, we dined on conch fritters, squid in coconut milf, fresh pineapple and other such delicacies that were, after all, pretty good.
Then came bedtime. Below deck, there were two wooden bunks, one above the other. I chose the bottom bunk and was to sleep by the soft slapping of the water against the side of our boat, and the cool breeze wafting down through the open hatch above our heads.
We chased bonefish, caught bonefish, and threw bonefish back for seven straight days. And it was fun! I could cast upside and backwards if I wanted to. I even caught a snook on my light line, which produced a fast boat ride and a good dinner.
The children were glad to see us when we got home. I mellowed about dragging that canoe over boulder-strewn stream bottoms that were supposed to be full of water. I learned to cook all kinds of fish and I raised our son to take my place in that canoe - only to find we were a two-canoe family. I could not bear to be left behind.
Our son, under the tutelage of his father, became the finest stern paddler and fisherman you ever saw. I trained the girls. They must cast underhand and throw up when saked to clean a fish - and be sure to marry a fisherman.