Have you stopped to consider the single most important person in the sport of fishing? To whom we can be lay credit for the millions of hours of spent pursuing everything from trout the size of guppies to large malevolent fish bigger than most economy cars?
A good case could be made to nominate various important figures in the fishing tackle or boating industries, or alternately, one of the blow-dried hosts of the television fishing shows. However, there is truly an unsung hero who really deserves our gratitude.
This person leaves work early to pick up the kids from gymnastics because we wanted to hit the lake before the evening bite and spends nights pulling lead sinkers out of the washing machine lint trap. Obviously, we are talking about the fishing spouse. Let us sing her praises!
OK, stop singing or she might call the Psychiatric Emergency Hotline. If she is like most fishing spouses, she has the telephone number right on the speed dialer along with numbers for the carpet cleaners, Dial-A-Handyman and Acme Boat Mortgage Company.
We will use the female reference when referring to the fishing spouse, as most of them are females who suffer along mostly-silent in their relationship with the angler. In some rare cases the situation is reversed so the reader can insert the proper personal pronoun as necessary. In those instances where both husband and wife fish equally, they can just move along because they have no idea of the horror in sharing a household with someone who firmly believes the family refrigerator is no place to store bait.
If you consider all the trouble that your spouse has endured because of our never-ending lust for fishing adventures, it is apparent that those married to fishermen either have the patience of a saint or are secretly plotting murder. Those are the only two possible explanations as to why someone would choose to remain wedded after finding a decease dried-up minnow in your pants pocket on laundry day.
As we approach the holiday season, consider all the distress our spouses endure and then take the time to write a note apologizing for all the heartache, torment, anguish, anger and disgust that you have put her through over the years.
In an effort to help you through this difficult and introspective task, here is an abridged version of one such actual message. Insert your own transgressions and wrongdoing as necessary or feel free to use mine.
“Dearest Darling Dear Sweety,
I am sorry for all the trouble I have put you through over the years and I would specifically like to apologize for the following fishing-related things:
The time you walked into the kitchen at 5 a.m. and found me gutting a salmon on the dinette table; those rotting fish that were forgotten inside our ‘good’ ice chest; that campground where the restrooms were later condemned by the board of health; forgetting to check my pockets before putting fishing pants in the clothes hamper. I sincerely hope that the salmon egg stains will come out of your new white blouse.
Moreover-the cold and frosted car first thing in the morning because I had to park the boat inside the garage to install a new depth finder; stray hooks; that plastic worm you stepped on in the middle of the night with your bare feet; the time on vacation when I made the long detour to the Jumbo Outdoor Megastore while you were asleep. I know that I really should have left a note on the dashboard for whenever you woke up.
Furthermore- Stinkbait; tormenting the cat with my yarn fly rod; that stupid singing plastic fish; the birthday’s, graduations, major surgeries and funerals missed because of fishing trips; the smell of damp waders left in the back of the car over a warm summer weekend; all those bad fish recipes, especially the “Spoiled fish taco affair” of 1993; the periodic fish bones that you choked upon until I became more skilled with a fillet knife; the trail of pond scum on the new carpet after a wading trip and all those kitchen towels that I have ruined. I realize the total is probably into the thousands
And finally: all the money…especially, all that money.
Love, Your little fisherman.”
A final tip: if she begins crying when reminded of all the cash that has been squandered in your pursuit of an animal that has the same intellectually capacity as a soup spoon, point out all the joy that fishing has given you. Because of this unending happiness, you are a better person and spouse and, in fact, it could be said that your marriage remains strong because of the simple act of angling.
Just make sure you have your hand on the doorknob when you tell her that.