Friday, March 5, 2010

Fishing

by Cassondra Murray


Have you ever gone fishing?


When I was a kid, my dad used to take me fishing a lot.



I remember my first fishing pole. I was probably seven years old when Daddy made that pole for me. If I close my eyes I can still see it, just like it was yesterday. And I can see my dad as he sat on an old stump in the back yard, putting my fishing rig together.




Once a year or so, my dad went to a creek a few miles away to harvest "cane poles". Cane poles were really a type of native bamboo that grew along the creek banks in Southern KY. He'd bring home a few big armloads of these each year, to use as bean sticks in the garden mostly. A secondary use, though, was fishing poles. Once the canes were dried they were strong, lightweight, and flexible.



He cut the pole to about six or eight feet long, then he wrapped fishing line around the end of the pole and tied it off, leaving about 8 feet of line free at the end. He attached a hook and a round red and white bobber, and I was in business. It was low-tech, but it worked.



First, we'd go out behind the barn to a shady spot. My dad used a hoe or a shovel to dig a hole deep enough to get to dark, cool earth. That's where the worms were.


There's a picture of earthworms here, so if you're squeamish, don't look. Focus on the text.




My job was "Keeper of the Bait." First I had to find an appropriate container. A margarine or Cool Whip tub would do, but a coffee can was the best. I'd dig through my mom's cabinets looking for just the right one.


Once I had the container, I'd meet my dad behind the barn. He'd dig the hole while I stood ready. When he turned the piles of damp earth, I'd bust up the clods and pick out the worms, dropping them into my coffee can along with a bit of dirt to keep them cool. Daddy was apparantly in sync with some universal higher power because at some point he'd stop digging and say, "that's enough," and it always was.


He'd grab a bucket and a tackle box and off we'd go, through the woods and across the fields for an afternoon of fishing.



There were three farm ponds in walking distance of our house. I suppose it was the same universal higher power that told him which one to choose on a given day. It didn't matter to me as long as the fish were biting.


Actually that's not true.




The truth is that no day fishing was ever wasted. I will stand right here in front of God and everybody and say that even if I never got a bite, some of the best times of my life were spent fishing.



It took anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to walk to the pond, and then there was a ritual to be observed.


First, find a shady spot to set the bucket and the bait. Next, unwrap the line from the pole. Dig a worm out of the can, thread it onto the hook. For the first few years, Daddy did this part for me. He also dug into his tackle box and chose an appropriate weight for the line, based on how deep he guessed the water to be, and where he guessed the fish to be hanging out. It's that universal higher-power connection thing again. It always seemed to come through when he needed fishing guidance.


Last in the ritual was picking the spot from which to fish. He always picked out a spot for me on the bank, settled me in, and once my line was in the water he'd go around the pond to find a spot for himself. Far enough that we each had our space, but not so far that I was out of sight.


One of the lessons I had to learn as I sat there on the bank was when to pull the line in and re-set, and when to leave it there. I'd get impatient and start futzing around with it, and I'd hear my dad's voice from his side of the pond. "Quit messin' with it. Leave it in the water."





One of my clearest memories was the day I landed the biggest fish I've ever caught. No monster in fishing terms, but it was a big deal for a little girl. A big bass. So big I nearly couldn't land the thing. I'd been catching little bluegill all afternoon and tossing them back in. Suddenly there was a huge splash, and my bobber went deep, toward the bottom of the pond. I remember my dad dropping his pole and running around the pond toward me as I backed away from the bank, throwing my weight against it, pulling pole, line, and fish with me as I tried to bring it in.


Daddy never would take me to the lake when his buddies brought out their boats to fish. I wanted to go, but I always had to stay home. Mom told me a few years later that the guys were just not prepared to have a little girl on the boat. They'd have to take me to the bank every so often since I couldn't exactly hang over the side like they could ever time I needed to pee.


That was okay. I got the point of fishing on the bank of the pond.


I have a quote above my computer, cut out from a calendar I had a few years back.

Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.~~Henry David Thoreau

Recently, when the days have been a little nutsy, I've thought a lot about those afternoons at the pond, dangling my line into the water, watching the world around me, waiting for a bite.
It's a little like writing and publishing in a lot of ways. You do the work, you build your rig, you bait your hook and you toss the line into the water. And then you wait for a bite. Sometimes you get a nibble. Sometimes you have to go back and study the weather, the water, and sometimes you have to put your worms back in the can and get out the minnows because the bait just isn't right for the fish you're after, or sometimes you have to move to the other side of the pond.
The thing is that even if I'd never hooked a fish, I still would have come away a richer person. I was after something other than fish, though I didnt' know it then. Solitude. The sense of nature around me, and nature's ability to put things into order, no matter what. Peace.


I'm after that again. With my writing and with my life. As we swing into spring and summer, into conference season, with its travel, pitches to editors and agents, and its need to be "on" emotionally and mentally and physically, I think the best thing I could do for myself would be to find a spot on the bank, bait my hook and just sit there for a while, listening to the birds, feeling the sun on my skin, the breeze kiss my cheek, watching my bobber float across the water, waiting for a bite.


I think maybe that's where some of my stories came from. Maybe not from the fishing itself, but from the quiet, the solitude, and the slow-down-and look-around time I spent sitting on those banks.


I tend to keep myself so busy now that I couldn't hear my muse if it had a bullhorn. Slowing down takes effort now. I have to wonder if what Thoreau meant was that when we dip our line into the water, what we're really hoping to catch is a bit of our real selves. That's certainly true for me.


The last ritual of the fishing day was to take the leftover worms and toss them into the pond. That's probably considered a bad thing now, artificially feeding the fish and all, but for my dad and me it was a sacred thing. A dedication to the idea that nothing goes to waste. A giving back, of a sort. Our way of giving back to the fish, the pond, and the higher power that had given us that time on the bank, whatever measure of luck we had, the warm sun and the gentle breeze. Jeanne blogged about honor yesterday. For a little kid, how I treated the fish on my line and even the worms in that can was important. To give back was an honorable thing and was only right. Actually, it might have been her blog that got me thinking about my dad and about summer afternoons sitting on the bank with him, fishing.




The thing about fishing is that it's a valid excuse not only to sit still for a while, but to tell everybody else around you to "Hush. Be still. You're scaring the fish."

I could use an excuse like that every now and then.

It's been years since I went fishing. I have my dad's fishing gear stashed safely in the garage, and one of my goals this year is to take an afternoon, buy a license, find a quiet spot on a bank somewhere, toss my line in the water, and see what nibbles


How 'bout you?

Have you ever been fishing?


Did you bait your own hook?


If you haven't been fishing, what do you think of the idea of going?

And if it's not fishing, what do you do when you want quiet time?


Do you like to eat fish?


Do you know how to CLEAN fish?
What are you after when you toss your line into the water?
Peace? Solitude?
Or plain old fish?


119 comments:

limecello said...

:)

limecello said...

Lovely post, Cassondra!
I have been fishing, and I have never baited my own hook. The last time I went fishing must've been when I was in first grade, or younger really.
Back then I was totally fine with digging for bait. Since then I've developed a near phobia of all bugs, and... sorry to say had to skim over part of the post when you had a picture of the bait.
I've almost been trapped on a sidewalk when it rained, because all the worms were coming out - and I couldn't stand being near them, and worse possibly stepping on one. It's... sad, really, and not debilitating, but close. (I feel sick, get dizzy, etc.) Hate bugs.

Anyway, yes, the peacefulness is nice. I do like to eat fish, but have never cleaned one on my own. I expect to at some point in my life, but haven't had to yet sooo... I'm ok with that.
For peace, I like holing up in my room. Or going outside in the spring/summer and reading in the back yeard when nobody else is around. "Me" time is very important.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Cassondra!

Beautiful post.

The last time I went fishing was on the American River when I was still in grade school. We had worms and the same red and white bobbers. I liked to use mini-marshmallows and salmon eggs on my hooks. I was going for aesthetics, not what the fish would want to eat. As soon as I caught a fish and my dad unhooked it, I'd start crying cause the fish would gasp for air and I knew it was going to die. Drove my dad nuts and he'd tell me to pipe down cause I was scaring the fish. Strangely enough, after we got home, I loved to help clean the fish. :) I had line caught salmon tonight. Yum.
congrats Lime!

Cassondra said...

Lime, you got the rooster!

Yes, "Me" time is important,isn't it?

Back then, I didn't know that "me" time was what I was getting, but it was, really.

What is it about the rush of life now that so insistently steals our quiet time from us? Maybe that's not a new thing, but it seems to me that life moves faster with every passing month and year. The time to fish--for anything--is harder and harder to come by.

I do hope you get back to fishing again sometime. Even if you don't bait your own hook. ;0)

Reading in the back yard sounds fabulous. I think a hammock would be a worthwhile investment JUST FOR READING. I may have to look into that.

Cassondra said...

Pink Peony said:

As soon as I caught a fish and my dad unhooked it, I'd start crying cause the fish would gasp for air and I knew it was going to die.

OH, me too! I'm that way now even more. I can't stand to watch them suffer. My dad would put them on a stringer if we were going to keep them, and let them swim around until it was time to go, then he'd do the deed quickly and efficiently so they didn't have to suffer. It's part of it, of course, but I don't like doing that even now. I love the whole catch and release program, though I've not fished since that's been popular. I think I will do that when I go again.

Cassondra said...

Pink Peony said:

I had line caught salmon tonight. Yum.
congrats Lime!


OH and you had line-caught salmon?

Yummmmm....

Did a member of your family fish for that? Or were you able to buy that somewhere?

I'm envious. I love salmon. Never had it as fresh as that though.

Cassondra said...

I'm off to bed.

I'll see y'all in the morning.

Somebody put the coffee on in the lair, will you? I'm gonna need a coffee IV when I wake up.

Jane said...

Hey Cassondra,
I've only been fishing once. My cousins rented a boat and we went fishing in Long Island. We only caught one fish that day, but it was fun. I would love to go fishing again and hopefully I'll get to catch one. I love fish, especially salmon and Chilean sea bass.

PinkPeony said...

Cassondra...I bought line caught salmon at Whole Foods (aka Whole Wallet). The farmed salmon is cheaper but line caught tastes better. Grilled it and cut up in chunks with orzo and spinach. Basically, I copied my fave Lean Cuisine entree! :)

Helen said...

Congrats lime have fun with him

Cassondra
Again and amazing post your writing draws me in I really am looking forward to the day I can read one of your books so I agree go fishing this summer and have a great time.

As for me my Mum taught me how to fish when we were young and we went on holidays often with aunts and uncles and cousins we would all going fishing at the beach and around the rocks and yes I had to bait my own hook if I wanted to fish I had to do it all LOL we were taught to clean the fish as well. I was never a great fisherwoman but we had loads of fun I remember one time when we were fishing on the beach and I caught a really big crab and instead of reeling the line in I ran up the beach and one of my cousins caught the crab in a net and I cooked him that night and yes he tasted yummy LOL.

When our children were young and we took them on holidays I taught them and my hubby how to fish and again we always had a great time together I have a great picture of my son when he was 7 and he caught a fairly big flounder and we cleaned it together and BBQed it that night and again yummy he also happened to catch an octopus the next day and nearly died of fright and it took us ages to get it of the hook and back in the water LOL.

I have to say our times fishing weren't always that quiet even though I have heard the saying keep quiet you will scare the fish a lot

Have Fun
Helen

Laurie said...

What beautiful memories, Cassondra, and a lovely post. It was a pleasure to read.

I'm not much for fishing although I did go with a friend of mine when I was a kid. He always baited the hook and removed the fish for me. I'm squeamish that way.

I live on a river and love to sit on the bank and just let loose and dream. My daughter liked to fish when she lived here but I'm into just watching the wildlife.

I don't eat red meat but fish and poultry are a part of my diet. I love most kinds of fish and shellfish.

Helen said...

I forgot to let you know what I use as quiet time for me this is sitting and reading and I need a lot of that and take it as often as I can.

Have Fun
Helen

Anna Sugden said...

Lovely post, Cassondra. I'm not the fisher in our family - my little sis was, though. I guess I never saw the point, because I was always busy doing something else ... and sitting still was never my strong point. Plus, I'm just not the outdoors-y kind (though I enjoy puttering about in the garden) I don't get the hunting, fishing, camping thing.

My 'me' time was always reading. Later, it was computer games - I loved adventure games like King's Quest. I enjoy my Japanese Hanjie puzzles now too.

And, time at the sea-side. There is something about the sea that kind of calls to me.

But, I'm still a fidget and always get distracted - perhaps a touch ADD. *g* I can't do any one thing for too long.

Anna Sugden said...

One of the beauties of living so close to the coast is having fresh fish readily available. One of the beauties of living on a small island is that nowhere, even Scotland, is too far away!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Sometimes,I just want fish, most of the time I just want out of the house away from the noise of the city. I was born and bred country and looking out my window just to look into my neighbors window just does not make me happy at all.

I lived on the river up until I was about 25 but the fishing ended some time before that I just felt good being close to the river. Since I started dating the man I am seeing now fishing is back in my life YEAH! Foud my tackle but most had to be thrown out, some was fob (found on bank) and not my style. I prefer worms but have learned to cast lures and can cast a lot better than when I was a youngun.
You know Cassondra, I should have known you were a fisher person. If it hasn't been lost somewhere in the shuffle between computers I have a picture of an 8 year old me holding up a Pike my daddy caught, I couldn't lift it so they put the line over the clothes line and had me hold it that way, it looks like I am holding it up over my head when I am actually just standing there with a fish as big as me. Daddy caught it but I got to reel it in......biggest thrill of my life right there.
Oh yes, I bait my own hooks, I will do nightcrawlers and minnows but nothing goes on that hook that has legs, my only fault to fishing is I am not a fan of creatures with more than 4 legs. I am also not graceful and have fallen in the river trying to get the boat in. Doesn't matter, I still love to fish.
I can clean and filet a fish but draw the line at catfish, for that matter if I catch a catfish I won't take it off the hook, I was nailed right between the fingers by one and that did it. Love to catch them, love to eat a nice clean one but no way am I touching it until those spines are gone.
In the winter just curling up with a good book is me time enough, doesn't really happen that often and since my son is older and has buddies it sometimes seems like there is never a quiet moment. BF is making fishing noises already and we still have snow on the ground. Hmmm, 40 degrees, boat, water? No, not yet, but soon, very, very soon.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Hey Cassondra, when you wake up take a peek.

http://hrdwrkdmom.com/Banditas/Fishing/fishing.html

Gillian Layne said...

We had no money when first married but of course owned an old red fishing boat ;). We lived in nw Arkansas and our weekend ritual was him fishing while I brought along my pile of books and studied-I was finishing my bachelor's degree. I can still hear the lapping water, the trill of the birds, the whirl of the line when he cast. It was so peaceful--and hey, when you have no distractions (tv, internet, phone), you tend to get good grades.

Clean fish? No thank you. I clean everything else around here, the fish are his department. ;)

Christie Kelley said...

LOL, Cassondra. I just told my husband that I'm still expecting the Barbie pink fishing pole for my birthday this month. We go fishing a few times each summer. I don't bait my hook unless we're using with shrimp. I just can't do the worms.

I love to sit on the dock or the boat and cast out then just relax for a while. I've never caught anything big. We have a ton of white and yellow perch in the river. And we believe in the throw back rule so I've never cleaned a fish either.

But I thoroughly enjoy fishing and can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can get out there again.

Gillian Layne said...

Now 'Fishing In The Dark' is stuck in head...it used to be one of my husband's ring tones. Total strangers would grin when they heard it. It's a very feel-good song.

Karen Olson said...

My grandfather would go fishing and bring back a bucket of bluefish and dump them on the table and my grandmother would clean them. She hated bluefish :)

My husband's grandmother was a fisherwoman in Iowa and he said one of the scariest things in his childhood memory is opening the freezer and seeing frozen fishtails sticking up out of milk cartons.

Karen Olson said...

P.S. And I can do an exact imitation of that Filet-O-Fish singing on the McDonald's commercial. Sad, but true.

Nancy said...

Cassondra, my dad loved to fish, too, but in the ocean. I suspect he enjoyed being out on the water with his buds as much as he did bringing in fish.

We went fishing some when I was little, but I eventually developed an aversion to getting up close and personal with anything I was planning to eat. Obviously, I did not grow up on a farm, or my mindset would've been far different!

I did bait my own hook, but I did not learn to clean the fish, though I watched Daddy do it.

Limecello, congrats on the rooster.

Nancy said...

Dianna, what a great picture! And a cute little girl. :-)

Nancy said...

Gillian wrote: I can still hear the lapping water, the trill of the birds, the whirl of the line when he cast.

What a great description!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Ah Cassondra...fishing.

I haven't been in years...ookay...probably 15 or more. But as a child I often went fishing with my grandfather in Tennessee and with my parents in Ohio.

In Ohio, I rarely fished...uhm...I was a bit put off by having to stick the worm on the hook. Not the wiggly worm itself, those were cool, but the actual piercing of its flesh. Oh yeah, and then the fish were these squirmy wet things with big eyes! ACK. BUT I was a great bait digger upper and I also was an expert tadpole catcher. The creek where my parents took me had small spots where my sister and I could safely play while the adults sat on the side bank and whiled away the hours catching fish.

I do know that those were some fun times in the outdoors. My family didn't go camping, but they did fish quite a bit. And as a little kid I'd come home almost as wet as the fish!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Now in Tennessee, things were a different matter. I couldn't go with grandpa until I'd learned to swim and was old enough to run for help if needs-be.

See, I was about 10 at the time and Grandpa Sherm would've been about 80, starting to go deaf and becoming a little frail, but boy did he love to fish.

So, our expeditions would actually start the day before when my sister Sami and I would sit on the bridge across the small creek branch that ran by the house and use the bait trap to catch minnows, which granpa and I would take on our walk down the mountain to the area where the Nolichucky river (raging fast further up the mountain) flattened and slowed.

My job was to help him down the bank to the water's edge. Then while he got his pole and bait together I was supposed to find a large stick and tie twine to the end...and here's the important part...MOVE DOWN THE BANK so I wouldn't be "tempted to talk and scare the fish away." (Can you hear Grandpa Sherm saying that? I can!)

This was where I finally learned, as a major chatter-box, that it was okay to enjoy the solitude!

Now the Nolichucky was a great place to fish. See the local fishery stocked the head waters with rainbow trout. So my stick with twine was for Grandpa Sherm to tie up his catch and after about an hour or two, we'd hike carefully back up the bank, and then I could talk the poor man's ear off all the way home. (And yes, he made me carry the fish!)

jo robertson said...

Cassondra, what a beautiful post and lovely walk down memory lane as well as an apt metaphor for finding inner peace. You rock, girl!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Okay, my last fishing tale.

When my son was 3 he took it into his head that he wanted to go fishing, catch a fish and cook it for dinner. Now, my dad bought the little guy a pole for his birthday and for the first time in his life he took him fishing. This was cool, because he got to go with grandpa all by himself, no sisters involved.

They sat on the pond bank and fished for quite sometime. And that first time he didn't catch anything, but then grandma showed up with suasage buiscuits so it was still cool.

My husband isn't a fiherman, doesn't like it, can't see the benefit of it. I asked him why and he said, "when I was our son's age I wanted to go fishing but my dad wouldn't take me." To which I replied, "Maybe THAT's why you don't like it?"

So, my sister and her husband, who loved to fish, made it their mission to take my son fishing. By the time he was 7 he could bait his own hook, cast and reel in his own catch and remove his fish from the hook without getting hooked. Then we moved. Fishing slowly diminished in his life, but I am pleased to say his father took him fishing a few times before he became a teenager obsessed with video games!

Virginia said...

Great post Cassondra! I love to fish! I havent' been in years, since I got married! I was raised with a fishing rod in my hand. Cut my teeth on fish bones! We lived near the river and my dad was a big fisherman! Even when we were in our twenties I can remember my sister and I going up the river with my dad in his John boat and spending the day fishing. I miss those quite pieceful times. I can remember going fishing by myself. I would go out and dig worms and go and set on the river bank and fish! Those were some good times and I miss it. I love fish to eat too! A lot of times when I go out to eat thats what I order. Craker Barrel has the best cat fish! You just can't beat it.

p226 said...

For me, fishing is broken up into three types.

The first type, is siting on the riverbank with a line in the water. Typically this is done at night, and you're after catfish. I never did care if I actually caught any. I can sit on the banks of the Kanawha and watch that oily black water slip to the west all night. Catching a fish is just a bonus.

Then there's fishing from a boat. That's more like work. It's more like sport. You move up and down the banks casting your lure and tossing it *just right* into every nook, cranny. Throwing it under every root and rock. Tossing it right at the edge of the water and letting it follow the slope of the underwater bank, hopefully passing the Bass hiding places. Yeah, that kind of fishing is fun. But it lacks the zen of the other two.

And then my favorite kind. Wading. West Virginia has many fast, shallow rivers. You can walk right up the middle of them for miles. The depth may vary from your chest to barely over your ankles. But for me, there is no experience quite like spending a day in the sun while the world flows around you without a care. That water takes no notice of me. To it, I'm no more significant than a rock. And a million years after I've left that spot with or without a fish, that water will continue to flow as it has for a million before.

Yeah. There's something about fishing. And most of it isn't about the fish. You can find out who you are standing in the middle of a river. You can find your place in the universe. And it's both humbling and empowering.

Not to knock the joy of catching a fish though. A friend of mine hit a rough spot. I mean, one of those life altering rough spots. And as we sat at his dad's place, his dad, an old country boy pulled me aside. "You need to take him fishin'."

"Fishin'?"

"Yeah. Tomorrow morning, you take off work, and you take my boy fishin'. When that bass hits the line, a man ain't got a care in the world."

Serious wisdom there.

MsHellion said...

Yes, I have been fishing, and I too was taught by my dad, in many of the same ways you were. The coffee can, the worms, the baiting the hook, the "stop messin' with it! Leave it in the water!". (We had store bought poles; and we only had the one pond that had catfish.) I also fished with catfish bait when I was older.

This is a great blog. I love reading your blogs. I feel like we're sisters sometimes. *LOL* And I love the analogy with writing. That's hilarious...I wish there was an excuse like, "Hush, you'll scare the fish."

I'd like to go fishing occasionally, though I have no idea where I would go. (There's no catfish in the pond now; there are more snakes, which would freak me out. I'd want to go to a groomed pond with fish and few snakes.)

Suzanne Welsh said...

"Yeah. Tomorrow morning, you take off work, and you take my boy fishin'. When that bass hits the line, a man ain't got a care in the world."...

I like how your friend's dad thinks!

Cassondra said...

Hi all, I'm up. Darnit. Got to reading an Anna Campbell book and stayed up all night. Her books do that to me. I should have known better on the morning before a blog....but it was worth it. (grin)

Jane said:

I've only been fishing once. My cousins rented a boat and we went fishing in Long Island. We only caught one fish that day, but it was fun. I would love to go fishing again and hopefully I'll get to catch one. I love fish, especially salmon and Chilean sea bass.

OOOOOH, Jane, fishing on Long Island sounds fun. I lOVE New York, but haven't spent much time on Long Island at all. Just passed through the edge of it, and honestly I'm not even certain I wasn't still in Brooklyn. And I've had sea bass only in Sushi, so I don't know how it is cooked, but it's my favorite sushi fish.

Cassondra said...

PinkPeony said:

Cassondra...I bought line caught salmon at Whole Foods (aka Whole Wallet).

SNORK. That's what I call it too. I go there to buy my bacon because I can get it wth no nitrates or nitrites only at Whole Foods. Your recipe sounds fabulous. Yummm. Y'all are making me hungry already.

Louisa Cornell said...

Truly beautiful post, Cassondra. Brought back a lot of memories. My Dad took us fishing all the time, especially when we lived in Selma. My brothers and I always thought it was a great adventure then. Looking back now I realize it was more about being with Dad and being close as a family.

And some of our best family stories come from those fishing trips. Like the time my brother, Jim, hooked Dad's ear and nearly dragged him into the lake when he cast. He was strong for a six year old kid !!

And the time the water moccasin got in the boat ! My Mom was on the bank with my youngest brother, Brian. My Dad was in the boat with Jim and me. The water moccasin just slithered into the boat. We all stood up at once. My Dad grabbed the motor and steered us toward shore. The boat was rocking. Soon as we got close to shore my Dad pitched us out of the boat and onto the shore ! Then he went after that moccasin with an oar. We laugh about it now, but it was scary then. One of the rare times my Dad cursed in front of us!

We talk about those fishing trips often now. And my brothers take their kids fishing all the time. It's a bonding tradition in my family, I guess.

The sad thing is that I can't eat fish at all. Allergic to all fish.

I do bait my hook when I fish. And I do know how to clean a fish, but I don't like to do it. Too much work and too messy!

Deb said...

Hi, Cassondra.

My husband absolutely loves to fish. He used to live in Corpus Christi and fished in the bay. Fishing here in Iowa isn't a challenge, he says. I enjoy fishing and spending time with my DH and Shary, relaxing by the water and in the sunshine. It amazes me that time can go by so quickly while just sitting and relaxing.

I do bait my own hook--yuck, but I am not very good at realizing when a fish is nibbling on my line. I can't seem to tell if the bobber is just bobbing or being pulled down by the fish. Last summer, we bought Shary a "real" fishing pole and the little squirt caught more than the rest of us that first day she used it. :) If we catch anything worth keeping, Jerry does the honors of fixing and frying our supper.

Deb said...

P.S. I'm not much of a fish eater; I don't like the fishy taste! Orange roughy and tilapia are good, though. I LOVE shrimp, but became allergic to it a few years ago.

PJ said...

Cassondra, what a lovely post. We moved to a house on a lake when I was four and I have many wonderful memories of fishing there. We used cane poles and would dig up worms (nightcrawlers) from my mom's garden. I loved to sit at the end of the dock with my bobber floating on the water and just absorb the warm sunlight and summer sounds as I waited for a fish to take a nibble. I always baited the hook but had to have somebody else take the fish off the hook. I never could bring myself to do that.

I'm living on a lake again, after many years in the city, but I haven't gone fishing in years. Nowadays, I retreat to the hammock when I'm in need of peace and quiet.

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

I remember one time when we were fishing on the beach and I caught a really big crab and instead of reeling the line in I ran up the beach and one of my cousins caught the crab in a net and I cooked him that night and yes he tasted yummy LOL.

Oh, Wow, Helen. I've NEVER fished in the ocean. That's one of the things I'd like to do in the next couple of years. I have no idea how it's different or the same, but I understand there are much larger fish of course, and that my little cane pole would NOT work in the Ocean. I think you have to have a special rig for that, don't you? With heavier line? (You can see that although I love to fish, I am a true fishing wannabe.)

And the Octopus--wow...do they just get caught on the hook or do they actually swallow the hook like a fish does? And how on earth did you get the hook out of the Octopus? I'm glad you threw him back. Was he big?

Ha! Don't you just love all these questions?

You know what you're doing. I want to come where you are and go fishing so you can teach me all about ocean fishing.

Cassondra said...

Laurie said:

He always baited the hook and removed the fish for me. I'm squeamish that way.

I live on a river and love to sit on the bank and just let loose and dream. My daughter liked to fish when she lived here but I'm into just watching the wildlife.



Oh my goodness, Laurie, I bet you have a wonderful view, and the river rolling by--the energy of that is fabulous, isn't it? I've always wanted a house on the water--a harbor would be my preference, with the sound of the gulls and the unique sound of water lapping nearby. The ocean, rivers, harbors and lakes all have different energies to me, but all very compelling. They draw me and I want to do just what you do--sit and dream and let the currents carry my thoughts along.

A pier to fish from would be nice though.

And lucky you, having a friend who would do the icky parts of fishing for you! That's a good friend indeed, and one who clearly desired your company! What a nice kind of friend to have.

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

I forgot to let you know what I use as quiet time for me this is sitting and reading and I need a lot of that and take it as often as I can.


Helen, somehow I knew this about you. You're one of the most voracious readers I know. I love it too. Wish I could do more of it. One of the sad parts of being a writer is that you get to read LESS, not more. But I won't give it up. Never.

Cassondra said...

Anna Sugden said:

I was always busy doing something else ... and sitting still was never my strong point. Plus, I'm just not the outdoors-y kind (though I enjoy puttering about in the garden) I don't get the hunting, fishing, camping thing.

My 'me' time was always reading. Later, it was computer games - I loved adventure games like King's Quest. I enjoy my Japanese Hanjie puzzles now too.

And, time at the sea-side. There is something about the sea that kind of calls to me.

But, I'm still a fidget and always get distracted - perhaps a touch ADD. *g* I can't do any one thing for too long.


Ha! You remind me of another friend. I don't like puzzles much, except for crosswords, but I was on a flight with a good friend the other day and when they called for securing the cabin for landing and we had to put our laptops away, she pulled out a sudoku puzzle. She can't even sit still for that long--needs her mind always busy--but she taught me to do it, and I LOVE it. I've printed off a stack of them and think they'll be good for the problem-solving part of my brain. Maybe even good for my story plots in that way.

I'm with you on loving the seaside,and although I'm not a hunter, I love being in the outdoors, so that's part of fishing's appeal to me. I, on the other hand, LOVE to sit and just be. Never get a chance to do it any more, but I love it. Fishing is as close as you can get without looking idle I think. ;0)

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra - you write the most loving posts.

I'm afraid I'm not a big fisherman. I've done some when I was little, but it was never a solitary experience. Generally my brothers were there as well - which meant it was never really quiet, and there never was a need to bait my own hook.

My in-laws lived on the side of a big lake. For a while, my husband and son would go fishing there. I'd read a book instead. I never could really relax because it was my in-laws, you know what I mean?

My son still enjoys fishing. He's got his license already for this year. I don't think he keeps anything he catches - just the catching is reward enough - or maybe it's the solitude.

We did do deep sea fishing once. I've got the marlin mounted in the basement to prove it LOL. But that's a whole different experience than pond fishing.

Cassondra said...

Anna Sugden said:

One of the beauties of living so close to the coast is having fresh fish readily available. One of the beauties of living on a small island is that nowhere, even Scotland, is too far away!

Oh, you're so right! I have a good story about that from back when I was in the U.K. I'll have to blog about that some time. I was amazed at how easily you can get places, given the ability to accomodate train schedules. The northern coast of Scotland was so beautiful in some places. Rugged, but when I saw it I knew where they'd gotten the name "seafoam green" for some paint colors. I'd never seen the ocean that color, but the shallows where it beat against the rocks on the northwest coast--it was soooooo beautiful!

Nancy said...

p226 wrote: That water takes no notice of me. To it, I'm no more significant than a rock. And a million years after I've left that spot with or without a fish, that water will continue to flow as it has for a million before.

This is how I feel at the ocean.

Cassondra said...

a.k.a. Dianna said:

I was born and bred country and looking out my window just to look into my neighbors window just does not make me happy at all.

Me neither, Dianna. I lived in the city for a bit when I was first married, and my soul died a little each day I was there. There are things I love about cities. The energy of NYC is fabulous and I love visiting, but after a while, I need to go back where I can look out my door and see fields and cows and crops.

I'm so glad that fishing is back in your life! That'll be good for you, but I agree on two counts. No cold water, and NO CREEPY CRAWLIES!!!! I can bait my hook with grasshoppers, but NO CRICKETS and OMG NO GRUBS OR MEALWORMS AAAAAAAHHHHHH!

You know that scene in Quigley down under with the big grubs? I have to skip over that part. Earthworms are not bad, don't mind them, but I'm a garderner and so feel bad for them--hate to kill them by putting them on a hook. :0(

Even with minnows, I start thinking about what it would feel like to be bait. I guess I need to learn to fish with artificial lures. I understand balls of bread or cheese sometimes works for some fish....

Cassondra said...

a.k.a. Dianna said:

Hey Cassondra, when you wake up take a peek.


Oooooo, Dianna, what great pics! I can see the resemblence between you and your granddaughter, too.

What a nice place to fish you have there. Is that a lake? I bet there are crappie around those stick-ups! :-O

Cassondra said...

Gillian Layne said:

We had no money when first married but of course owned an old red fishing boat ;). We lived in nw Arkansas and our weekend ritual was him fishing while I brought along my pile of books and studied-I was finishing my bachelor's degree. I can still hear the lapping water, the trill of the birds, the whirl of the line when he cast. It was so peaceful--


OH...I love that. Isn't it just ironic that we have some of the best times when we're the poorest as a young couple? Now, don't get me wrong...not if there's not enough to pay the bills...I've been there, and that's just plain awful. But I think as we get older and have a little more expendable income, we tend to substitute the simple activities for the more fast-paced and electronic.

What a vivid picture you paint--the whirr of the line when he casts. I can hear it like I'm there. And WOW, what wonderful times getting to sit and read while he does something he loves.

Gosh, don't you want to go back and do that again? I want to, and I wasn't even there! Even the old red fishing boat sounds perfect. If it floats, that's all you need! (I know that competition bass fishermen would argue that point, so I'm not even gonna go there.)

Cassondra said...

Christie Kelley said:

I love to sit on the dock or the boat and cast out then just relax for a while. I've never caught anything big. We have a ton of white and yellow perch in the river. And we believe in the throw back rule so I've never cleaned a fish either.

OH...but don't you just hate it when they swallow the hook and you can't get it out? I understand there are some precautions you can take that help with that, but it breaks my heart.

Then again, I love to eat fish, and don't even mind scaling them if I get some pan-fried bluegill (skin still on, thank you very much) for my trouble. It's a lot of messy smelly work though.

As to the pink Barbie fishing pole...obviously there's a story there. Let's have it. (grin)

Cassondra said...

It IS a feel-good song!

Here's a live version if y'all haven't heard it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yh3ml8gzrd4

Cassondra said...

Karen Olson said:

My husband's grandmother was a fisherwoman in Iowa and he said one of the scariest things in his childhood memory is opening the freezer and seeing frozen fishtails sticking up out of milk cartons.

What is it with the milk cartons? My mom used to freeze everything in milk cartons. Squirrel, rabbit--fish--anything my dad hunted, she'd put in milk cartons. The tails were always cut off already though, so no fishtail nightmares for me, thank God.

Cassondra said...

Karen Olson also said:

P.S. And I can do an exact imitation of that Filet-O-Fish singing on the McDonald's commercial. Sad, but true

Okay now I have not seen or heard that commercial. You've got my curiosity going for real now...

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

my dad loved to fish, too, but in the ocean. I suspect he enjoyed being out on the water with his buds as much as he did bringing in fish.

Exactly! I think this is it for my dad too. Although my mom used the excuse, "they don't want to have to take you to the bank to pee," I have wondered since then if there was not often beer involved as well--which would preclude my going. In my lifetime I never saw my dad drink alcohol of any kind. I know he DID sometimes, but not where I could see it. Beer and fishing--they kind of go together for a lot of people, don't they? And in my Bible Belt upbringing, Beer was EEEEEE-VIL.

We went fishing some when I was little, but I eventually developed an aversion to getting up close and personal with anything I was planning to eat. Obviously, I did not grow up on a farm, or my mindset would've been far different!

Well, yaknow...my mindset was different then. It had to be. I'm glad for that experience because I have a gratitude toward things that give their life so that mine is sustained, but I also have clearly grown way too tenderhearted for it as well. I could not be a cattle farmer now, unless it was dairy (cuz, you know, they generally are not meat animals..generally) but God save me from ever being a dairy farmer. Do you know the difference between dairy farming and prison?

Prison has the possibility of parole.

Just sayin.....

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

In Ohio, I rarely fished...uhm...I was a bit put off by having to stick the worm on the hook. Not the wiggly worm itself, those were cool, but the actual piercing of its flesh.

YES yes YES! I like the worms. Don't like to stick them with the hooks!!!! Worms are good guys after all.

Now, cave crickets...they deserve to die. I can't hook them because I can't stand to touch them (one of my true near-phobias, and there's a story there) but they deserve to die. Yes, they do.

Meal worms too. They also deserve to die. But I can't touch those either, darnit. Underneath the hardass, I am a girl.

Cassondra said...

Virginia said:

I love to fish! I havent' been in years, since I got married! I was raised with a fishing rod in my hand. Cut my teeth on fish bones! We lived near the river and my dad was a big fisherman! Even when we were in our twenties I can remember my sister and I going up the river with my dad in his John boat and spending the day fishing. I miss those quite pieceful times

Oh, so do I Virginia. I miss those times. Makes me miss my daddy too. (sniff) And isn't it interesting how we grew up eating fish with the bones in it, and I was warned over and over to be careful, but my parents trusted me to be able to eat those fish as a kid and not eat one of the sharp little bones? And I DID! My whole childhood. It was like crab legs--a lot of trouble for not much meat--but darn, it was good.

I bet nowadays parents would freak totally out at the thought of their little kids eating fish with bones in it. Kids are adaptable little buggers. Far less helpless than a lot of folks like to believe. My nephews, when they were little, would not eat chicken with bones in it. It had to be chicken nuggets. I had a little trouble with that whole idea, but I was not their parents. Good thing I guess....

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I KNOW beer was involved when Daddy and his buds went fishing. Also involved were the absence of shaving and the telling of jokes that were, let's say, ribald. *g*

He loved Oregon Inlet, on the NC Outer Banks. They stayed in a little motel in Wanchese, a working fishing village far removed from, and much cheaper than anything in, touristy Manteo.

Nancy said...

Are cave crickets what we call camelback crickets--sort of speckly looking, get as big as your thumb, sort of scurry as well as hop but never make chirrupy sounds? They live in the unfinished part of our basement. :-(

We call them nastycrawlyhoppythings.

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

See, I was about 10 at the time and Grandpa Sherm would've been about 80, starting to go deaf and becoming a little frail, but boy did he love to fish.


Suz, how did I miss this post about Grandpa Sherm and the Nolichucky River????

This is an awesome story! And I bet you learned to fish from Grandpa Sherm. But, did your pole ever actually catch fish? Or did you have to just sit and hold it?

I am laughing out loud at the "Move down the bank where you can't talk and scare the fish" thing. (grin)

Cassondra said...

Jo said:

Cassondra, what a beautiful post and lovely walk down memory lane as well as an apt metaphor for finding inner peace. You rock, girl!

Aw, thank you JoMama. :0)

Cassondra said...

Suz also said:

My husband isn't a fiherman, doesn't like it, can't see the benefit of it. I asked him why and he said, "when I was our son's age I wanted to go fishing but my dad wouldn't take me." To which I replied, "Maybe THAT's why you don't like it?"

Ooooo....brilliant insight. Did he get it?

So, my sister and her husband, who loved to fish, made it their mission to take my son fishing. By the time he was 7 he could bait his own hook, cast and reel in his own catch and remove his fish from the hook without getting hooked. Then we moved. Fishing slowly diminished in his life, but I am pleased to say his father took him fishing a few times before he became a teenager obsessed with video games!

I love it that somebody took him fishing. And I'm sorry it diminished in his life. Fishing can be a real miracle sometimes. Not that your boy needs a miracle, obviously, but I have a story to share about that.

One of my very good friends who lives not far from me has a son who has been into some trouble with the law. Got to running with the wrong kind of girl (I know that sounds so rotten, but it's just the truth. She led him by his nether regions into a really bad crowd.) Minor things, but still stuff that breaks a parent's heart and sets a bad precedent and makes you worry that he's going to get into worse trouble later.

No amount of talk or warnings, or even actual nights in jail would shift his tendency to lean toward trouble.

Then one day after his dad had gotten a lawyer to keep him out of worse trouble than he actually deserved, his dad pulled out their old fishing boat and took him fishing. The boy couldn't drive so he was kind of forced to go along. BAM! The boy was (no pun intended) hooked. In his early 20s,the time he was spending with the wrong crowd and getting into trouble, is now spent in the creekbank or on the lake.

His dad told me what had happened and said, "if he sinks my boat, I don't care. I'll buy him another one if it keeps him on the lake and out of trouble."

I said, "Thank God you took him fishing."

His dad said, "this may be exactly what we've been looking for."

We bumped fists. I knew how worried he'd been about his boy, and how much effort he'd made to try to turn him around, with no results.

Fishing is magic for some people. I think in this case it worked a little miracle.

Oh, and he catches more fish than the family can eat, so I get some. (grin)

Suzanne Welsh said...

I am laughing out loud at the "Move down the bank where you can't talk and scare the fish" thing. (grin)..

You know me so well!

I did learn to fish, but Grandpa Sherm knew me...I loved to talk, (and still do). Making me sit by myself, well...I learned to listen, too.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh and Cassondra, meant to tell you that when Grandpa Sherm was in his 90's...I think about 94, the local paper did an article about him and had a picture of him, fishing in the Nolichucky! He lived to be 99. Maybe it was all that fishing?

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

That water takes no notice of me. To it, I'm no more significant than a rock. And a million years after I've left that spot with or without a fish, that water will continue to flow as it has for a million before.

Yes.

Yeah. There's something about fishing. And most of it isn't about the fish. You can find out who you are standing in the middle of a river. You can find your place in the universe. And it's both humbling and empowering.

This. So well said there is nothing to add.


as we sat at his dad's place, his dad, an old country boy pulled me aside. "You need to take him fishin'."

"Fishin'?"

"Yeah. Tomorrow morning, you take off work, and you take my boy fishin'.


That is a dad who knew something. And I'm glad he had you to ask. And I bet you did it, and I bet it helped.

Taking someone hunting or fishing connects that someone with where they fall in the universe. It shifts that "it's all about ME" from Jeanne's post about honor yesterday, to..."maybe it's not all about ME" in some way that I can't explain.

Video games just do not do that.

I think if I wanted to save the world, I might do well to take it fishing.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Fishing is magic for some people. I think in this case it worked a little miracle...

Yep, I agree Cassondra. I wish my son could've known his Great Grandpa Sherm. I think they would've been great fishing buddies!

Cassondra said...

Oh, and P226, if I ever come to West Virginia and we get to spend an afternoon, I might say, "Let's don't go shooting. Let's go fishing." I'd like to meet one of those rivers. I've never been fly fishing though, and I might wig out wading in water up to your chest, since it would be over my head.....just sayin...

Cassondra said...

Hellion said:

This is a great blog. I love reading your blogs. I feel like we're sisters sometimes. *LOL* And I love the analogy with writing. That's hilarious...I wish there was an excuse like, "Hush, you'll scare the fish."

Thank you, Hellion, and I feel that way too. :0)

And I Think there is an excuse..."Hush, you'll scare the muse." But nobody would get that I don't guess. That's the thing about fishing. You've got a real live excuse. HEY! THat's an idea. I could go fishing and work on my book plot problems while I sit there, and I'd have an excuse to say "hush, you're scaring the muse..uh..fish."

I'd like to go fishing occasionally, though I have no idea where I would go. (There's no catfish in the pond now; there are more snakes, which would freak me out. I'd want to go to a groomed pond with fish and few snakes.)

I think you need a pier to fish from. Or a boat. That takes care of the snake stuf. It's hard to find a good pond nowadays. And the chemicals from farming tend to end up in the ponds too. Not good. Piers or boats--that's the way to go if you're snake phobic.

Cassondra said...

Louisa said:

We talk about those fishing trips often now. And my brothers take their kids fishing all the time. It's a bonding tradition in my family, I guess.

The sad thing is that I can't eat fish at all. Allergic to all fish.

I do bait my hook when I fish. And I do know how to clean a fish, but I don't like to do it. Too much work and too messy!


Oh, I'm sorry you can't eat fish! But I'm so glad you still like to fish anyway. Can you bait your hook with crawly bugs? Blech.

Awesome stories, and yes, the water moccasin story is a scary one. I can imagine your dad's fear that it would get to one of you. Sounds like your dad was a very wise young father, and that's so great that your family is carrying on that tradition.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, what a gorgeous post. I love it. It really brought back memories for me too.

My brother loved to fish and as most of our family holidays involved water in one way or another, he used to do it a lot. Now he has a family, he doesn't get so much chance to get away but I've noticed when he's going through bad times, he still seeks that peace with a fishing rod. I used to occasionally join him although usually I'd just set up the rod and stick my nose in a book. Not the point, he'd say!

Anna Campbell said...

By the way, nothing beats the taste of a really freshly caught fish. Every hour seems to erode quite how delicious that flesh is (and I'm someone who loves to eat fish - but straight out of the water? Food of the gods!).

Cassondra said...

Deb said:

My husband absolutely loves to fish. He used to live in Corpus Christi and fished in the bay. Fishing here in Iowa isn't a challenge, he says.

I can imagine that once you've fished in big water, landlocked lakes probably don't seem like much of a challenge. I understand that some places have particular challenges though. We have lakes here in Kentucky that are very deep and boast some challenging bass fishing, apparantly, and then we have other lakes that are famous for some kind of large shallow water fish and people come from all over the world to fish here. I guess each particular type of fish has its own challenges if you know what to aim at. I don't know any of that technical stuff though.

I Last summer, we bought Shary a "real" fishing pole and the little squirt caught more than the rest of us that first day she used it. :) If we catch anything worth keeping, Jerry does the honors of fixing and frying our supper.

That's very cool that she caught the most fish her first time out with her new rig. And awesome that he does the cleaning and cooking of the catch. Those are wonderful traditions. My husband grew up a city boy and knows less about fishing than I do. But I think he'd like to learn. Maybe we'll make that a summer project.

Cassondra said...

Deb said:

P.S. I'm not much of a fish eater; I don't like the fishy taste! Orange roughy and tilapia are good, though. I LOVE shrimp, but became allergic to it a few years ago.

You know, my husband developed a shrimp allergy, but we found out that he's allergic to only SOME Shrimp. Other shrimp he can eat with no trouble, depending on where it's caught. He met a lady about four years ago who studies such things and told him it was the mercury levels he was allergic to, and that certain areas had higher levels than others because of pollution I guess. Anyway, we've found that if I buy shrimp from certain locations (Thailand, for example) he can eat that with no trouble. Gulf shrimp? No way. He does always carry Benadryl with him though. In case he has a bite of something and has shrimp without meaning to, and it's from the wrong area.

Anna Campbell said...

Ha ha, Cassondra. My evil plan worked. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Send me photos of the dark circles under your eyes for my brag book!

Louisa, the water mocassin? Eeek! My only injury while fishing was that I got bitten by a toadfish. Do you guys have them? They puff up when they're caught and they're actually poisonous if you step on them - spikes up the back. They're usually quite small, though - a couple of inches upwards. They're mongrel things - eat the bait you want to catch PROPER fish. By the way, they bite like billio!

P226, love your take on fishing. I remember seeing a movie yeears ago, A River Flows Through It. Remember not loving the story but the beautiful, beautiful scenes of the men in the family fly fishing stayed with me forever. As you say there's something humbling but affirming about just watching that water flow past.

Love the story about the bad boy who found redemption through fishing too, Cassondra!

Cassondra said...

PJ said:

I always baited the hook but had to have somebody else take the fish off the hook. I never could bring myself to do that.

I could take the small fish off the hook, but not the catfish. I was an adult before I could take catfish off the hook, and even now I'm not certain I could do it safely. I've kind of forgotten how you hold them to stay away from the evil fins. Seems like my dad held them by the mouth only, or got right up behind the fins and got a good grip, but those fish are slippery and I don't know that I'd do that. I'll have to have someone show me again if I go fishing.

I'm living on a lake again, after many years in the city, but I haven't gone fishing in years. Nowadays, I retreat to the hammock when I'm in need of peace and quiet.

A hammock sounds so wonderful. I've been threatening to get one. Although I'm afraid if I did that, I'd never see my husband awake again.

Anna Campbell said...

Suz, love the fishing stories. Don't stop on my account!

Dianna, what lovely photos! Thanks for putting them up.

Cassondra said...

Donna said:

My in-laws lived on the side of a big lake. For a while, my husband and son would go fishing there. I'd read a book instead. I never could really relax because it was my in-laws, you know what I mean?

I know exactly what you mean. And if you can't relax, there's no point really, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think I would ever get into competition fishing, though I could get into the sport of really studying and learning the fish and their habits. That's interesting.


We did do deep sea fishing once. I've got the marlin mounted in the basement to prove it LOL. But that's a whole different experience than pond fishing.

Yes, it would seem so. I want to try this someday. I hope not too long from now.

p226 said...

The Greenbrier river is where it's at. All the bass fishing you could ever want. And the scenery? You'll never forget it.

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

That water takes no notice of me. To it, I'm no more significant than a rock. And a million years after I've left that spot with or without a fish, that water will continue to flow as it has for a million before.

And Nancy said: This is how I feel at the ocean.

Me too, Nancy. I just got back from my first trip to Ft. Lauderdale. I was at a conference hotel almost the whole time, but was fortunate enough to get to spend about an hour on the beach and on a fishing pier over the water. It does something to my soul that nothing else does. I've developed a real need for it. I can't explain it easily, but it's a real, tangible need to be by the sea.

Helen said...

Cassondra

I haven't been fishing in a long time and most of the rods and reels that we used belonged to my Uncle and I honestly have no idea what weights they are but yes some of the rods people use on the beach are really big and heavy. They are harder to throw out as well because the waves will bring the line back in LOL.
I have fished on an inlet that goes to the ocean but never on a river and when we fished on the inlet we had lots of hand lines which are bright coloured plastic round and you hold them and they also come as a piece of cork stuff with the line and hooks and sinkers already on and they are great for kids to learn with.

As for the octopus he wasn't really big and yes he swallowed the hook like fish do I don't think I will ever forget the look on my son and hubbys's face for that matter and it was hard getting that hook out before we put him back in the water.

Have Fun
Helen

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Cassondra, I KNOW beer was involved when Daddy and his buds went fishing. Also involved were the absence of shaving and the telling of jokes that were, let's say, ribald. *g*

He loved Oregon Inlet, on the NC Outer Banks. They stayed in a little motel in Wanchese, a working fishing village far removed from, and much cheaper than anything in, touristy Manteo.


Now see...I would absolutely LOVE this. If I had a little house in a fishing village like that, I would go there and just be. Write and be. My muse would flourish in that kind of real-life community, so different from the way I grew up. Sooooo interesting. I'd be out there, asking the fishermen to teach me what they know. I'd be such a pest.

Are cave crickets what we call camelback crickets--sort of speckly looking, get as big as your thumb, sort of scurry as well as hop but never make chirrupy sounds? They live in the unfinished part of our basement.

We call them nastycrawlyhoppythings.


Yes, that's them. Spawn from hell.

Cassondra said...

Suz said:

did learn to fish, but Grandpa Sherm knew me...I loved to talk, (and still do). Making me sit by myself, well...I learned to listen, too.

Even though Grandpa Sherm quite likely had selfish motives for the "hush" thing, I expect that was a good thing that he did. I learned to listen by following my dad around to his regular haunts, being his sidekick, and always being around adults. But I tend to forget that "listen" lesson. I will talk to a rock.

I wish my son could've known his Great Grandpa Sherm. I think they would've been great fishing buddies!

I get they would. And I wish that for him too. Although, I'm betting that other have/will fill that role for him. And that's a good thing.

Cassondra said...

Anna Campbell said:


I've noticed when he's going through bad times, he still seeks that peace with a fishing rod. I used to occasionally join him although usually I'd just set up the rod and stick my nose in a book. Not the point, he'd say!


This "seeking peace with a fishing rod" is a common thing, isn't it? I wish I could say exactly what it is about fishing that does this. P226 has probably nailed it best of all. And I guess the nose-in-the-book is NOT the point, but it is a change of pace from holing up in the house and reading, and just being out there does some good, I think.

Another interesting tidbit is that from all of this you learn to be in companionable silence with someone else. That's a skill not everyone has, and it's kind of an important one, I think.

Cassondra said...

Anna Campbell said:

By the way, nothing beats the taste of a really freshly caught fish. Every hour seems to erode quite how delicious that flesh is (and I'm someone who loves to eat fish - but straight out of the water? Food of the gods!).

AMEN SISTAH! (waves hanky) While KY is a beautiful state, it is completely landlocked, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE seafood. When I go to the coast, I get upset if I have to eat anything but that. I'm not going to the ocean and eating burgers. I. Am. Not.

Cassondra said...

Anna also said:

Ha ha, Cassondra. My evil plan worked. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Send me photos of the dark circles under your eyes for my brag book!


I've got 'em. Omygosh, I have to get up at 5 in the morning too. This is not good. Not good at all. Must sleep tonight. Must.

Cassondra said...

p226 said:

The Greenbrier river is where it's at. All the bass fishing you could ever want. And the scenery? You'll never forget it


Ooooo. I wanna see it.

I will have to google that.

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, that need to be by the sea thing really is like a physical ache, isn't it? I know exactly what you mean.

Christie Kelley said...

Cassondra, I can't use my husband's fishing pole. It's just too big and unwieldy for me. I need a smaller one like my boys have. We were walking through Outdoor World one day and I pointed out the pink Barbie fishing pole and told him that was the perfect size for me.

Now, my dh hates the color pink (very strange man) and has two boys so doesn't understand Barbie. I keep waiting for that fishing pole.

Have you ever crabbed? There is nothing more fun than tying a chicken neck to a string and dropping it in the water. When the string walks away, you carefully pull it up and get a net under the crab. If he's big enough, you drop him in your bucket. While we fish and release, we only release the crabs that are too small. The rest go home with us.

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

As for the octopus he wasn't really big and yes he swallowed the hook like fish do I don't think I will ever forget the look on my son and hubbys's face for that matter and it was hard getting that hook out before we put him back in the water.


Oh! I hope he wasn't hurt by it. But you know, some things are just unavoidable. When I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago, I walked out on a fishing pier and some water birds were there and had been injured because apparantly the dive on the lures as people cast, trying to steal the bait. People try to not hurt them but they make it impossible sometimes I guess.

Was the octopus all wrapped around their hands and stuff while they tried to get the hook out? I think I might freak out about that. I can pick up snakes, but if they wrap around my hand or arm too much, I'm a goner. Steve has to stay right by me in case they do that.

Octopi (Octopii? Octopuses?) are kind of weird creatures anyway, don't you think? All those suckers sticking to you...I dunno about that.

Cassondra said...

Anna Campbell said:

Cassondra, that need to be by the sea thing really is like a physical ache, isn't it? I know exactly what you mean.

Yes, it is. I don't really understand it fully, as I didn't grow up near the ocean, and in fact went there only once as a young girl, and not until I was 12, then never got back until I was much older.

It's enough to make me believe in ancestral memory. I ache for it, and feel much the way I felt when I first crossed the border into Scotland. I still ache for that too. Of course, I know my heritage is Scot, so that is explained. The sea though...that's another matter, but my soul surely does need it.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, C, I think one of the reasons I adore Scotland so much is that most of it is water. The land seems kinda accidental. And you're always close to the sea. Sigh. Now I wanna go back there!!!!!

Cassondra said...

Christie said:

Have you ever crabbed? There is nothing more fun than tying a chicken neck to a string and dropping it in the water. When the string walks away, you carefully pull it up and get a net under the crab. If he's big enough, you drop him in your bucket. While we fish and release, we only release the crabs that are too small. The rest go home with us.

NOOOOO, I never have! I've never done any of those beach-dweller type things. Never dug for clams, never had a clam bake (though I've wanted to since I saw the Elvis movie when I was a kid) For years I have longed to spend enough time at the ocean to do this. Of course, I have to get someone who knows to teach me.

I can't explain to people who live or grew up near the ocean or the beach how unfamiliar it all is. The flags that signal dangerous marine life? The tides? The undertow? Breakers? I don't know anything about any of it. It's an alien world to me. I want to learn all of it.

I would feel so bad for the little crabs I think. (I could get over this, I promise. I'm made of tougher stuff than I sound like) Though if you've ever watched them hunt in a fish tank, the're brutal, so I guess it's a food chain thing. (I am glad I'm a little higher up on it actually, having watched crabs in a salt tank recently)

Do you have to drop crabs in the boiling water live, the way you do lobster? When I go into a seafood restaurant, or Kroger with the lobster tank, I always want to hide out until after closing and sneak back and let them all go. Be FREE! BE FREE!!!

It's a stupid urge. I know this.

Cassondra said...

Anna C said:

Actually, C, I think one of the reasons I adore Scotland so much is that most of it is water. The land seems kinda accidental. And you're always close to the sea. Sigh. Now I wanna go back there!!!!!

Yeah, me too, Fo. Although it is COLD water. I have to say, though the North sea on the west side is stunning, up near the Orkneys it's almost frightening, it's so wild. I stood there in July and felt that cold, unrelenting wind whip about me and thought, "I love Scotland, but I could not live HERE in this exposed place."

I could live on one of the islands or on a Firth harbor town though. Oh yeah.

MsHellion said...

Dude, I have been googling Walmart for fishing reels and my state website for permit information. (But hey I found out we have a free fishing day coming up in June...)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

*Sigh*

What lovely blogs you post, and what lovely pictures you paint with words, Cassondra.

Just reading it made me peaceful. :>

I've been fishing and know how to clean fish. I've river, pond and ocean fished. Nothing is like pond or river fishing for sheer peacefulness and thinking time.

I love what you said about "Shh, you'll scare the fish!" Man, I'd like to use that around here sometimes - "SHHHH! You'll scare the muse!" Grins.

What a wonderful, delicious memory of your father, of peace and tranquility. I'm going to nudge you, as the weather warms, to get that license, bait the hook and dream. Yes, yes I am. :>

Just...lovely.

(Congrats on the GR, Lime!)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I've just been back, reading throught he comments. Ohhhh, Scotland. Yes, please. :>

Nancy said...

Cassondra, if you were Sir Paul, you could just buy the lobsters and haul 'em to the beach. I heard he did that once.

I can't eat lobster because of the whole "up close and personal" thing and like my crab deviled or in cakes, when it bears little resemblance to its original self.

Laurie said...

[i]Cassondra said: I would feel so bad for the little crabs I think. (I could get over this, I promise. I'm made of tougher stuff than I sound like) Though if you've ever watched them hunt in a fish tank, the're brutal, so I guess it's a food chain thing. (I am glad I'm a little higher up on it actually, having watched crabs in a salt tank recently)[/i]

We love to go crabbing on Assateague Island and usually go there once a year. It's such a wild place with the sand dunes and wild ponies. On the bay side it's a wonderful place for crabbing. You sit on the dock and use the string and chicken pieces just as Christie wrote. Here in Maryland we have the delicious blue crabs. We don't keep the crabs though - just catch and release, and then go out for a seafood dinner later. I rationalize that I don't have to cook on vacation. :)

Nancy said...

Laurie, we seriously oppose cooking on vacation!

Anna Campbell said...

Cassdondra, you're right about that water you have to travel over to get to the Orkneys. Seriously scary!

Cassondra said...

MsHellion said:

Dude, I have been googling Walmart for fishing reels and my state website for permit information. (But hey I found out we have a free fishing day coming up in June...)

GO YOU! That rocks! You go git you some fishin' girlfriend!

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

What a wonderful, delicious memory of your father, of peace and tranquility. I'm going to nudge you, as the weather warms, to get that license, bait the hook and dream. Yes, yes I am. :>


Good. I'll probably need the nudge. And hey, you live near the ocean. I may nudge you to take me crabbing or clamming or...something...

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Cassondra, if you were Sir Paul, you could just buy the lobsters and haul 'em to the beach. I heard he did that once.

I can't eat lobster because of the whole "up close and personal" thing and like my crab deviled or in cakes, when it bears little resemblance to its original self.


Hmmm...that may be one of the only things I have in common with Sir Paul. Although I heard he was a libra or something...

As to the seafood, I can eat it looking very much like itself, and I like almost all of it, though the deviled crab I've had hasn't been my favorite. Perhaps I've just had bad versions of it....

I can eat nearly anything if I haven't known it on a personal level. However if I've looked it in the eye, I have a lot more difficulty. In particular, I could never pick one out of a tank, knowing it will then be brought to my table. Nope. Can't go there.

Cassondra said...

Laurie said:

We love to go crabbing on Assateague Island and usually go there once a year. It's such a wild place with the sand dunes and wild ponies. On the bay side it's a wonderful place for crabbing. You sit on the dock and use the string and chicken pieces just as Christie wrote. Here in Maryland we have the delicious blue crabs. We don't keep the crabs though - just catch and release, and then go out for a seafood dinner later. I rationalize that I don't have to cook on vacation. :)

OH, I want to go there and see the ponies! Misty! (yes, yes I know she was from another island but still I a all beside myself now). I really do want to try these ocean-savvy activities. I feel that I've missed something in life by not having these experiences. One can't just go to the beach, stay in a hotel and do this stuff though. You've gotta have somebody who knows how. Hmmmm...I may be hitting up some Bandita Buddies in the future, for a lesson on crabbing and such.

Cassondra said...

Oh, and the crabs...do they grab ahold of the bait and won't let go or something? Is there a hook involved?

Cassondra said...

Anna said:

Cassdondra, you're right about that water you have to travel over to get to the Orkneys. Seriously scary!

Anna, I think of the climate on the northern coast of Scotland as absolutely brutal. The Queen Mother has a cottage up there somewhere--we toured the gardens--and I thought, "why here?" I suppose it has its own kind of beauty, but the highlands were so barren to me, and that cold wind was relentless. Now the middle part of Scotland around Blair Castle, where my ancestors are from, is absolutely beautiful and green. The country varies so much from one region to another. And I'm glad I've seen that north coast, and the people were absolutely lovely to me, but I am not made of strong enough stuff to live there. I need a more forgiving climate. At least part of the time.

Nancy said...

Cassondra wrote: In particular, I could never pick one out of a tank, knowing it will then be brought to my table. Nope. Can't go there.

Amen to that!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

If it swims in the ocean or crawls on the bottom, I'll pretty much give it a go as far as trying it for dinner. Grins.

Don't like the pick-the-lobster-in the-tank thing either, though. Just cook 'em and bring 'em, I don't need to do the choosing. Grins.

Now I want to go to the Orkneys. Very. Very. Badly.

I think I'm in need of some "wild places" energy right now! Tooooo much chaos at my house.

Pissenlit said...

I LOOOOOOVE fishing, especially in a canoe! Um, I think I've only ever baited my hook once on my own and even then it was a fake jiggly smelly worm. I'm not sure I could deal with putting a live worm on a hook...I'd feel bad for it. I know how to clean a fish *coughintheorycough* :) I like it for the peace and quiet and just the act of fishing, itself...the casting, waiting, the little tugs on the line, reeling the fish in...actually, it's sort of both peaceful and exciting at the same time. And then there's the tasty tasty fish afterwards. :D

Nancy said...

Jeanne, you and the dh would find yourselves in accord. He'll eat ANYthing.

Well, maybe not pufferfish. But pretty much anything else!

Cassondra said...

Pissenlit said:

I like it for the peace and quiet and just the act of fishing, itself...the casting, waiting, the little tugs on the line, reeling the fish in...actually, it's sort of both peaceful and exciting at the same time. And then there's the tasty tasty fish afterwards. :D

Well said Pissenlit! These are exactly the reasons I love fishing. And yes, it is really peaceful, punctuated with moments of excitement, which is kind of perfect, I think.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

I think I'm in need of some "wild places" energy right now! Tooooo much chaos at my house.

Ooooo...me too. Beach, mountains, river...I'm ready. As long as it's not cold there. I'm tired of cold.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, having said that, I think I'd skip pufferfish too unless I could be sure it wasn't gonna pizen me. Grins.

Warm. Yep, Cassondra, that would be nice about now...

Then again, its going to be in the 50's here this weekend so we should melt some more of our snow. :>

p226 said...

You know, my boy has enough mass now that he could probably wade-fish with me.

Might have to do that a few times this summer. Keep the jet-ski in the garage and go do it old school.

p226 said...

This is a very typical scene just about anywhere on the Greenbrier river.

http://gallery.wvca.us/albums/2008-WVWN-Photo-Contest-Entries/IMG_6013.sized.jpg

Cassondra said...

p226 said:

This is a very typical scene just about anywhere on the Greenbrier river.

http://gallery.wvca.us/albums/2008-WVWN-Photo-Contest-Entries/IMG_6013.sized.jpg


Wow, that is gorgeous! I definitely need to learn to fly fish, and if I had on waders I suppose the deeper water wouldn't be too bad.

Hmmm....I wonder if they make waders in my size.....hmmm...

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

You know, my boy has enough mass now that he could probably wade-fish with me.

Might have to do that a few times this summer


You definitely should. I guarantee he'll remember that with more fondness than another summer on the jet-ski. Although those are fun too.

It's a different kind of "together time" I think.

Oh...and how much mass does it take to wade-fish....???

p226 said...

Enough to keep yourself on your feet in a swift current up to your knees or so. And no, you don't need waders. You just wear some old shoes and walk right in. Summertime in WV is pretty hot. That cool water feels awesome. You just get wet. And love it.

Cassondra said...

p226 said:

Enough to keep yourself on your feet in a swift current up to your knees or so. And no, you don't need waders. You just wear some old shoes and walk right in. Summertime in WV is pretty hot. That cool water feels awesome. You just get wet. And love it.

Could your wife do it? I'm heavier than she, I think, though I'm about the same height.

Anna Campbell said...

P226, that's gorgeous!

Cassondra said...

Y'all, I am off to bed now.

Thank you so much for sharing your fishing stories!

I am now determined to go fishing this year.

Let me know if you do.