A Good Sport
I have been married for 117 yrs!......or some where around that long. If you have read enough stories to have gotten to know me, than im sure you can well imagine that has been no picnic for her. One obvious constant in our relationship has been fishing........my fishing, not hers. Susan has never really gotten it about how terrific and great and spectacular....fishing is. She just has never gotten it!
One of the first times we ever dated was at a gathering of friends for a picnic at this nearby lake. It was sunny and we all partied and swam and had a blast. I brought a fishing rod. of course. and so I fished. Susan took a picture that day of me squatting under a bush , stealhfully luring some nice small bass in. To this day she has it next to the bed and from day one, till now she has never seen that passion falter. She knows how much I like fishing. I knew (assumed ...is more like it), that I would eventually lure her in as to the NEED to fish...and WE would love this sport together. So on that very first day...while hooking up with nice small mouth bass, I figured no time like the present and I would begin to enhance her awareness, that first picnic date. "Now just hold the rod and the bass will bite and then you pull back and he will fight and you will be euphoric!!!!!"...."Ok?" She held the rod....the smallie bit.....she set the hook....and reeled in a gorgeous 3-3.5 lb bronze back. It jumped like a mad man and I was all juiced up just watching this. If this doesn't sell her. nothing will. She didn't even want to hold the fish for a picture. She was mad cuz I did not immediately put it back. She handed the rod back and said..."Thanks Mike..that was fun (said half heartedly)...Ill be over here, with everyone else..... ok?"....Hmmm, I guess the small mouth moment wasn't going to do it.
I guess having red hair and Irish descent.....always kept me lucky. When we first got married I won a raffle for alot of travel money...1500$..... something like that. I gave a grand to my parents to visit in California...cuz they never had been there to visit some close relatives... and the $500 left , we used to go on a short vacation to key west. You know what I had in mind down in that fishing Mecca!!! Key West was a blast. and about 3 days into it. we conveniently walked by the Charter boat marina. The next day we were heading out to sea. We had a day of days. catching huge amber jacks and mahi and Wahoo...and on and on. Maybe this would turn her into a fishaholic like me......lots of fish... and lots of big fish!
Although Susan is thin. she is very tough and quite strong. She has hiked the Appalachian trail with me ...full pack and all.....the entire way through CONN>>>MASS>>>>VT>>>NH>>>and some of Maine. That is hundreds of miles on foot....over the most mountainous terrain in those states.
I used to run and eventually did all sorts of wild running adventures. but in the early days....advancement came very slowly for me and after many months of training, my buddy and I were going to attempt this very long one which would end with a run a round this lake near us that is 7 3/4 miles in circumference. Susan never jogged a step in her life. but decided to join in and when she got tired she would stop and meet us at the end. She not only ran the entire 7 3/4 miles. but did it faster than all of us who had trained. She has formally exercised at a gym for 20 yrs and invented the term ...6 pack abs. This resume about her fitness is because she was more than able to handle the biggest and baddest of all those fish that day......and after a day like that...you think she could hardly wait to go again .right??......."What do you want to do tomorrow now that we got fishing...over with?"......I guess the back breaking amberjacks and rocket Wahoo didn't do it for her either. She did seem to have a thing for this handsome dolphin........
Time passed and my adventures began to create the foundation for the many stories in Angling Lore , that I have written. She would always say patronizing stuff like." Good for you dear"..."Im glad you caught that big one"....blah blah blah. My next attempt to really and finally sway her ..was with class. She is very classy and perhaps if she hung with the rich and famous,,,while I fished with the rich and famous, she would suddenly love fishing too. I felt good about this approach. so while visiting in Destin Florida we went out with some veryyyyy wealthy guys who became pals and we gave the cobia run a shot. Cobia are a great fighting migratory fish that are a unique angling pursuit...Reeling one of these cool fish in might change her tune about the her complacency toward this wonderful sport.
We were on a half of million dollar boat and in the lap of luxury.....and the cobia were there. Cocktail in hand Susan watched the fishing dance that occurs in the back of a boat when big game fishing...These guys were not only rich....but were good at fishing as well. We were spotting fish and casting to them in no time. I reeled the first one in and it was a very game fighter. Susan was engrossed in talking with some other people on the boat. so when they yelled." We are hooked up again, come fight the fish Susan...."......she replied....."oh no thanks.....im talking now..you guys can do it." I was crushed, as only a spoiled , "I wanna get my way" brat can be. How could she say that?...How could she pass up such a chance??? How could she???? So I reeled it in.... and she talked.... and we all had fun. Her closing statement that day about the fishing was...."Gee that boat sure was nice, wasn't it?" It was clear that ungodly costly boats and great open ocean fish didn't make the light bulb go off. I was bewildered.
For many years I have been very fortunate to belong to a fish and game club that has a spectacular lake as a resource. The trout are big and are holdovers many times. The small mouth bass fishing is the BEST I have EVER had. I mean it. Four lb smallies are very very common and 6-9 lb largemouth are also typical ....cuz catch and release has allowed that to occur. On light gear, I challenge you to find better fresh water lake fishing , other than historic fisheries like Ontario etc, anywhere in new England. Connecticut awards trophy pins for 6lb largemouth and above. and 4 pound smallies and above. With getting both those pins being my goal .....for that day.!!!!!..I tried and succeeded in getting both qualifiers on the same day in each specie....Now that's good fishing!! I have a small gamefisher boat and drifting alewives, on the right day, can bring schools of bass out into open water and it is the equivalent of a bluefish school on herring. Big.Bossy.Bass......that's how it was on one of the many days Susan and I went out on the lake. The bass were biting that alewive every time I drifted one. They were all big smallmouths. The acrobatics were crazy and the drag went out so much the sound made my fillings hurt. What more could I ask for. bright sunshine and an unbelievable open water bronze back bite. "Susan , you have to reel some of these in...they are outrageous".."No that's ok dear, I would rather read in the sun " Did I hear that right? A once a season bite like this and you want to read?..Yes this book is interesting and I would rather do this.
Trust me, it cant be lack of intelligence that causes her to make these choices. She really is quite smart. Susan has a master degree in special education and was once chosen as Teacher of the Year for the State of Connecticut . I was in the field for almost 30 yrs and I can assure you she takes on her job with intellect...and dedication.....
Many of her adventures come from the depths of great novels....so you think she would want to try more REAL adventure...Like Fishing. But on this day. as with all fishing days, my wife opted to enjoy the tranquility of a boat ride and a good book , while I howled more than Jimmy Houston, as the huge smallies came one after the other. I just don't get it!!!!!!!
Humarock Beach has been apart of our entire married lives. We rented there for 15 yrs in the summer and finally bought a house in 1995. With me ....41 steps from the sand, you KNOW what I do all the time. Since we live here. and its very easy to walk over to fish and catch beauties, I cant see any reason why Susan wont EVOLVE into liking fishing , simply because of proximity to the beach. Good assumption , right? If you have read other editions, and I hope you have, you will see many many many, photos of great stripers and bluefish caught from that very beach.
One sunny day she finally peeked over her book and saw that I was in the midst of a school of slammer blues. "honey, you have to come reel one of these in "....
"No thanks, but you have fun"..."Come on...these schools are only a few times in a lifetime......come on". As you may have guessed by now. The title of this saga............. A GOOD SPORT....is not in reference to the sport of fishing...but to the fact that Susan is good sport about all this fishing madness,....so in keeping with her personality, she came down and reeled one in. After landing it, handed the rod back to me, and said...".Hurry and get the hook out and put it back. I don't like it when they are out of the water" Her next move was a stride back toward the book and the chair. How can that be??.....Eighteen pound bluefish and she isn't totally immersed in it??..How can that be? I hope you realize this is all tongue in cheek.
To this day, if I ask her to watch my rod and if it has bait on it....it irritates her!!!! Does she know how many people would be honored to watch The Striper Mikes gear????? She doesn't seem impressed.
I have come to a slowww but sure conclusion...are you ready for this? I CAN'T GET HER TO LOVE FISHING!! God knows I have tried. She has all the great traits..strength...brains...determination etc. What a shame! I am joking of course. So my passion continues and once a year she will reel a nice one in, just to make me happy. Of course I am elated....and she remains what she always has been................ A GOOD SPORT.
Sometimes it is impossible to convince people to like what you like or do what you do.....and that , of course, is what makes life interesting. So instead of wishing Susan loved fishing like I do..Im just glad she Loves me like she does. Appreciation is much more real than wishing....appreciate your life and those around it.......Striper Mike
AT LEAST SHE LIKES BULLDOGS!!!