OPINION COLUMNS

Fish stories: Feed me fish, but don’t make me catch them

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, June 4, 2017
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I don’t think I’m cut out for fishing.

When trying to decide what we were going to do for our columns this week, David and I had conflicting ideas. He wanted to do lifeguard training. I wanted to take our dogs through an agility course.

CATCHES OF THE DAY – Racey hoists her fish. Messenger photo by Kristen Tribe

Somehow we ended up with a compromise, and that compromise was fishing.

I don’t really like to fish. I always found it boring, but I decided that maybe I was just doing it wrong. David fishes a lot more often, and I thought maybe he could teach me some tricks.

Our editor Kristen’s parents have a dock where the fishing is good, so we took a morning to head out there, accompanied by Kristen and her daughter, Allie. Kristen’s dad Larry was waiting for us, and he lent me a pole and some bait. He has a pretty sweet set-up for fishing – a big dock and a closed off room with a hole in the ground that you can see the water through. It was cool to watch the fish swimming around, seeing them check out your bait, waiting for one to take the bite that would hook it.

We were only going to catch and release, which is actually kind of brutal when you think about it. I mean, you’re hooking a fish just for fun and then tossing it away again, and it made me feel guilty. I only caught tiny fish, mostly perch, and I felt terrible every time I struggled to get the hooks out of their little fish mouths, looking in their sad little fish eyes. Larry and Allie had to help me unhook most of them.

After I caught 10 I quit, deciding that even though I don’t feel bad about eating fish, I do feel bad about catching them for no reason. It didn’t help that every time I pulled one up Allie would make up a back story – “oh, that’s the dad of the fish family, and you just stole him from his children,” etc.

David tried to be more ambitious, setting his lures to catch the bigger fish. He was unsuccessful, and even though he knows far more about fishing than I do, if we go by pure number count I won the day.

Except I don’t think I really won, because the best catch by far went to Allie. She reeled in somebody’s discarded Under Armour hat, and no fish were harmed in the process.

Racey Burden is a Messenger reporter.

Catches of the Day 3

Allie shows off her catch, a slightly-used cap. Messenger photo by Kristen Tribe

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