They say Southerners are good storytellers - maybe not universally true, but it was true for my husband. I met him after he moved north, and fell for him because of his entertaining stories about the wilds of Georgia. He beguiled me like Scheherazade with a thousand tales about rabbit and coon hunting, frog gigging, outdoor adventures, and especially fishing. It wasn’t long before I was hooked.
Finally he took me south to meet his parents and visit his old haunts. Like most women who hope to become brides, I did my best to be agreeable. Some of my efforts got me laughed at, like the time my future in-laws were discussing jug fishing. “Who would want a fish small enough to swim into a jug?” I asked. And never heard the end of it.
Growing up, I had fished a bit with my dad for blue gill and sunfish, but this was different. What I called a sinker, Pat called a lead. What I called a bobber he called a cork. I knew what a lure was, but I had never heard of a crankbait. And I had never been bass fishing.
One day Pat and his daddy slid the camper into the back of the pick-up, hitched up the boat trailer and bass boat, and away we went, to camp and fish on Lake Sinclair.
Pat was a patient suitor while teaching me to cast, but I just couldn’t handle his open face spinning reel. With every cast, I created a bird’s nest of fishing line, which took forever to untangle. The solution was a closed face Zebco 2020. Pat fixed me up with a crankbait, and we were ready to fish.
He showed me how to cast - almost, but not quite, up to the bank. He taught me about water moccasins, and told of the time his buddy cast his line and managed to snag a squirrel. But easing around the coves and shallows with the trolling motor, my casts often went too far, and ended up tangled in the shrubs and weeds.
The first day on the lake Pat spent all his time untangling my line, straightening out my tackle, and replacing lost crankbaits. I felt sorry that he never got to fish himself, and determined to get myself loose the next time I tangled.
I soon snagged my line again, but this time I pulled hard on the fishing rod. Sure enough my line came loose. The crankbait flew straight back, treble hook and all, and two of the three hooks stuck right in my thigh.
There is no way to back barbed hooks out of tender thigh meat. The only way Pat could remove them was to cut them out with his pocket knife, and that’s what he did.
Pat was afraid that would be the end of the trip, but I stuck it out for another two days. I think that’s what cemented our relationship. We’ve been married now for a number of years. Maybe it’s time we bought a boat.