Why I don’t fish

 

Fishing is a sport.  Like golf, it is also a popular, leisure activity here in the Sunshine State.  I have a good number of friends who over the years, have consistently invited me to go fishing with them, although I’ve never really gotten into it for reasons about to be discussed.

 

I respect fishing and those who enjoy it.  I have several friends with boats who love to fish.  My former boss used to actively compete for sailfish and fare pretty well for himself.  He even had one of his prize catches hanging in the office.  ESPN airs that fishing show every Sunday morning that I bear through until The Sports Reporters come on, those rare weekend mornings that I’m actually out of bed.

 

My patented response when people ask me to go fishing is that I can buy my fish at the local supermarket.  In those nice little display cases, they have tuna, salmon, grouper, whatever I want, and I don’t have to gut or scale the darned things.  My friends have explained repeatedly that fishing is about camaraderie and competition and drinking and getting away from things and more drinking… and I’m all for that.  Fishing just has never floated my boat.  No pun intended.

 

Here’s why.

 

beach-w-mom-cropped1Many years ago, my mom and I moved from New York City to Tampa, Florida.  I was about 12 years old and, as I was raised by a single mom, she thought it might be a good idea to take me out and do some ‘guy things.’  Even then, I was reluctant.  When she mentioned fishing, I asked her if we would be able to catch tuna fish, nova, or fish sticks, a line that still gets tossed around at family dinners.  We were from Manhattan.  The only fish I knew was the smoked salmon we bought from Zabar’s.  That was fresh, tasty and served up right there for you.  Why go through the trouble of having to fish it out of the ocean?  Plus my aunt had taken me to see “Jaws” at an early age.  Jarring.  At six years old, I had my head buried in her lap the entire movie.

 

So one day, mom bought a couple of cheap fishing poles and we headed out to the Courtney Campbell causeway.  I forget what type of bait we used but I don’t see either of us hooking worms or shrimp heads or whatever other items fishermen use to bait a hook.  She even bought one of those K-Mart special fish kits even though we didn’t really have anything to put in it.  We didn’t know what we would have done had we actually caught a fish.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to cut the thing open and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t either.  We probably would have just tossed it back into the gulf, after of course reminding the little fishies who was boss.

 

So we stood out there one beautiful, Florida weekend day, casting out our reels or whatever the proper terminology is.  As an undersized little leaguer, I obviously tried to cast my hook out as far into the peninsula as possible.

 

That was until I caught something… and it wasn’t a fish.  As my cast flew through the air as hard as I could muster, a low-flying seagull, who was apparently going after the same fish I was, flew right under my reel.  And got caught.

 

Once hooked, the seagull started to make a horrible sound.  The seagull’s wing, the line and I were one.  I stood there in shock.  It was my first time fishing and I didn’t know what to do.  Was this normal?  My mom stood by my side, similarly unaware of how to handle this.  

 

As the cars whizzed by us on the causeway, my first reaction was to tug on the fishing pole in an effort to free the poor bird.  Bad idea.  The seagull started squawking louder.  Even though seagulls are glorified rats with wings, I still didn’t want to kill the poor thing. 

 

As rookie fishermen, we were tremendously ill-prepared.  We had no scissors to cut the line and no magic lamp to turn back time.  We stood there trying to figure out how to get ourselves out of this mess.  As I recall, we were finally able to free the injured bird from my fishing wrath although many of the details have been subconsciously removed from my memory.

 

It was a miserable day, a failed experiment, her good intentions of a ‘boy’s day out’ gone horribly wrong. 

 

So now, I don’t fish.  And neither does she.  Understandably.  We’ve gone back to buying our fish from the supermarket.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love fish.  I just don’t love TO fish.

 

When it comes to sports, I’m a meat and potatoes man.  Give me my baseball, my basketball, my football.  Mix in some golf, boxing and tennis and I’m a happy camper, even though I don’t like camping either.

 

I’ll go ahead and leave the fishing to those who know what they’re doing.  After all, I wouldn’t want to harm any more seagulls.

50 thoughts on “Why I don’t fish

  1. Fishing on a boat with a six-pack…nothing like it. I do it once every 15 yrs just to say I do it. Aluminum boats are a nightmare- kids flinch and the thing capsizes…plus there’s that burn factor. SPF 100 doesn’t work.

  2. best piece yet- a little insight to your world and how you and why you tick the way you do.

  3. Chris,

    It is an aquired thing much like scotch. Once you have fought a big fish and have felt the rush that can only come from that, it gets addicting. Oh and the drinking is always FUN! as usual another good column although you don’t echo my feelings! Your SoFlo Bro,

    Seth

  4. Seth… that is a PERFECT analogy, which is ironic because I don’t drink scotch either. As you know, I’m a bourbon man.

    Perhaps we should kill two birds with one stone: take the boat out and get snookered on scotch on the rocks.

    My boss used to say exactly the same thing when it came to wrestling in a fish. I’m not opposed to it as long as I don’t have to slice it open. Trust me, man, I’ll be first in line to eat it.

  5. Hey fishing is great if you know what you doing and dont have nothing better to do .

  6. Chris

    First of all thanks for that insightful analysis concerning Roethlisberger. As you alluded to this’ll be best settled when the whole truth is known rather than us all prognosticating and openly speculating on the situation.

    Something happened and it may well make this is all reminiscent of the Bryant affair.

    As to the point of this piece. Fishing for me was primarily about the solace of being by open water and being at peace. For others it may well be different. But for me it was a pleasant experience.

    I see that Kobe still wants Lamar Odom to remain a Laker ? As to whether or not they’re prepared acquiesce and pay him the money he seeks. Well that’s open to speculation.

    I don’t want to burst your bubble. But ESPN baseball analyst Steve Phillips is stating the Red Sox should give up either Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz for the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay.
    It’s at times likes this I’m glad that I don’t have a gun in close proximity when I’m watching baseball. As I’m liable to blow the _*ck out of my tv !

    Alan Parkins

  7. Hysterical. I feel the same – especially about the Zabar’s- but am taking my once-a-decade trip out in P’cola this weekend. My cousin lives there and fishes almost every day, but he doesn’t eat fish. That’s worrisome. I hope I don’t catch anything.

  8. Great piece Chris. I’m with you on the fishing thing. I’ll stick to my local fish market.

  9. I agree 100%. No fishing for me either. I had bad luck a couple of times with boats as a youngster. So, I don’t go to far out in them when I do get in one. Think…a lap around the harbor during a booze cruise.

    $100 at the grocery will buy me all the fish I care to eat in a year. Or $100 at a seafood restaurant with a date will turn out a lot better than a fishing trip.

    No sunburn, no embedded hooks, no embedded fins, no seasickness, no fish slime dripping off the beer cans.

  10. I’m with you dude. I hate to fish too. Fishing is just a poor excuse to drink excessive amounts of beer. I do my fishing at the display case in the supermarket. If you still have a love for smoked salmon, I’ve got a recipe for you that’s easy and inexpensive. Yes sir, you can make that lox at home for less than $7/pound.

  11. Al… ESPN has been taking a lot of heat for not reporting on the Roethlisberger case but I imagine they’re just waiting on details to emerge.

    As I hear Kobe state openly that Lamar will be back, that almost assures me that he will.

    That offer made me think twice. I think trading one of those guys for Doc would be worth it. I’m not sure about both.

  12. So he fishes but doesn’t eat fish? What’s up with that? Why even bother?

    I do enjoy having friends that fish. All my fishing buddies would give me their extra grouper which I would kindly accept.

    I imagine the fishing in Pensacola would have to be pretty stout.

  13. Frank… you’re too friggin’ busy to breathe never mind fish.

    Han… fish slime and beer cans, another perfect reason not to fish. Then you taste some by mistake. I mean, I imagine the slime is low fat, high protein but still, not my idea of a perfect day.

  14. Chris

    Let me know when you’re ready to put a hit out on ESPN analyst Steve Phillips . I’ll gladly volunteer to do the job for half the given price being paid on the streets.

    Why is that the Pirates are still playing baseball ? Hell they’re trading away players faster than Feds gave out money as part of their TARP bailout of the financial system.

    Boston gets Adam La Roche at a bargain basement price. What’s next the Pirates change their name from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Pittsburgh Dollar Generals ? As in the bargain basement store ?

    What’s the use in them being part of MLB to begin with ?

    What Kobe Usuall Wants Kobe Usually Gets …Well Some Of The Time ….

    Alan Parkins

  15. I’m a huge fishing fan, but I don’t get much chance to do it. I have caught a few birds in my day, but always had a towell to throw over it (to calm it down) and a knife to cut the line. It does help if at least one person on the boat has a clue of what they are doing and is well prepared.

    Some of my favorite memories come from fishing. I remember one night in particular when I fished in the ocean in the morning and then came into the San Diego Bay in the evening and fished into the night. My family drifted through the bay, catching fish consistantly, watching the fireworks go off at Sea Worl, and listening to the Padres win a game on the radio, all at the same time. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    Great post!

  16. Chris

    You still haven’t said if you want Phillips to be taken out or not ?

    And I guess that you’ve got to feeling like a kid in candy store after the Sox got Adam La Roche from the Pirates ?

    As to Odom , much of that’ll be predicated on whether or not he’s prepared to take either the mid cap level or a shorter contract ? He wants a five or six year commitment from the Lakers paying between $35-$40m over the term.

    Here’s my take on the Pirates

    Why Compete ? Well Why Not ? We Try To But We Can’t …..

    You do realize that I’m of the opinion that the Pirates ought to be folded as a baseball organization ? They’re an affront to everything that game allegedly now stands for ! They wouldn’t how to be competitive , were they given a manual to begin with.

    Alan Parkins

  17. Sadie… happy birthday, sis. Sorry I couldn’t make the trip but we’ll celebrate next time you’re down and we’ll count the fishnets.

    Have Saul send me some bagels.

  18. BB21…. sounds like a beer commercial. Very nice.

    What’s the over/under on LaDanian Tomlinson rushing yards this season?

    I’d set it at 1650.

  19. Chris

    I’d never have believed it myself as the Rays get their butts handed to them by Buehrle pitches a ‘perfect game’. And to top it all they can’t even swat a friggin’ fly.

    What’s the sayin’ it never rains but it pours. It’s one thing to get blanked. But it’s another to be on the end of a perfect game.

    Maddon and the players now really need to take a look at themselves in the mirror.
    They can’t afford to lose games of this magnitude and then expect to make the playoffs. It was a humbling experience and hopefully they’ll learn from it. If not then they’re deserving off their fate !

    Alan Parkins

  20. I was listening to it on the radio. WDAE prempted Jim Rome for the broadcast.

    As I was running errands today, I kept hearing the announcer say “And Buehrle has retired 21 straight!”

    I ran into a bar to catch the last inning. In fact, as I walked in, that’s when Kapler’s home run was robbed.

    That Buehrle can pitch, man. Surgical.

  21. Chris …

    A loss like this can at times do irreparable damage to a team’s psyche as it is. And with the inconsistency of the Rays as it is.
    Who the hell knows what’ll happen next with this team.

    It’s at times like this that Maddon needs to light a fire under their a_ss . Rather than continue with that softly , softly approach. Hopefully they’ll learn something from this loss ?

    Alan Parkins 07/24/09 1:50am EST

  22. I don’t think the Rays will take that loss to heart. The Sox are struggling right now and the Rays are still in the mix.

    It’s nice to see the Rays at least being mentioned in the Halladay sweepstakes. They need to work on their starting pitching for sure. Kazmir’s mentioned in trade talks but I’m not sure anyone would want to take his contract… or his noodle.

  23. Chris

    Even you’ve got to admit that this was an embarrassing turn of events for the Rays ? They were inept offensively . And God almighty what’s it going to take to convince Maddon that Kazmir’s now become a liability on the mound ?

    Were Kazmir a horse . He’d have been put down already ! He can’t find the strike zone. And the continuous bellyaching as to his mental state has now become a joke. He’s beginning to make the likes of Perez Hilton and Clay Aiken seem all the more masculine.

    Here’s my take on yesterday’s events. Let me know what you think as to the merits of the piece ? As and when you’re ready. I’ll look forward to reading your comments.

    There’s No Shame In Losing But It’s How You Lose That Can Be Cause For Concern ……


    Alan Parkins

  24. Chris

    The one person I can assure you who’ll take it to heart is Scot Kazmir.
    His psyche is shot to hell ! As for Maddon’s reasons why to keep on the active roster at present , is beyond me. The guy’s more of a liability than he is an asset.

    I know that as a $6m a year player , you can’t throw him on the scrap heap. But , in all honesty when he’s now become that much of liability. That’s probably the best place for him.

    And to think that they got rid of Edwin Jackson and kept Kazmir. I bet if they had it to do all over again. They’d rethink the issue altogether ? Either that or the Rays’ pitching coaches , just aren’t cutting it.


    Alan Parkins

  25. I think it’s more offensive that Kazmir gave up a grand slam to their number nine hitter than it is that they got shut down by a great pitcher in Buehrle.

    The Rays generally score runs and they did have that come from behind victory the other night. But they are struggling with consistency. That’s something they’re going to have to work on.

  26. And as I said earlier, Kazmir will get paid more next year, then the year after that, then the year after that.

    With that and his arm problems, he’s going to be tough to unload.

  27. Chris,
    I can’t say I had a traumatic experience like you to turn me away from fishing. My dad was never into fishing so I never acquired an attitude of excitement about it. Quite frankly, I never had the patience for it. If I don’t have something on the hook every few minutes, I’m packing up and heading home. I’d rather fresh water fish in a stocked pond, keep a few, and throw the rest in and I’m done in an hour. As for ocean fishing, I see nothing fun about getting up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) driving over an hour to get to the launch, two more hours to get to the fishing spot and hope you catch something. I couldn’t identify any particular fish I caught and would just be happy to have something on my hook every ten minutes. But after about an hour I am ready for something else. I caught a 45 pound dauphin(?) but it wasn’t a great thrill that made me want to come back. I’ll go to the local fish market for $20-$30 and 15 minutes. But make a 50 foot putt or hit a shot to within a few inches of the hole and I’m “hooked”!
    Dan

  28. Dan… I couldn’t have said it better myself. I know that’s what fishing is supposed to be about but I’m as impatient as the next guy.

    And seasickness? Fuggedaboutit. I’ll pop more dramamine that I’ll catch fish.

    Speaking of sinking putts… I need to hit the links.

  29. Chris,
    Funny piece on the fishing experience. I can relate to your mother as a single mother. The last time I went fishing was my last time. It was with my ex and he is a HUGE fan of fishing. I was horribly sick and let’s just say I’m not a fan of boats! Anyways, while he was in my house…every weekend I’d have to endured those boring fishing shows that you are talking about on ESPN and they are just full of rednecks talking about their lures and the size of their fish caught…trying to get you to buy their poles and lures…honestly…it’s quite a snooze fest. But hey…there is a reason it is playing on Saturday and Sunday morning, right? The kids are watching cartoons and Mom is out running errands…you should be sleeping from your evening of well…you know… 😉 The only only other people watching tv on Saturday and Sunday mornings are well…other Rednecks!

    Reyna

  30. Thank Goodness Chris, my faith in you has just been restored…because for a moment there…you had me confused for a redneck watching tv. Good story on the fishing experience, it’s seagulls are just rats with tails but I guess you taught that one a lesson…not to get so close to the fishing dock and be so greedy!!!

  31. Chris…

    I’ve lived in Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, South Carolina, and now Illinois where Gretchen Wilson is from and sings a song about a “Redneck Woman”…hell…I believe “Redneck” is totally appropriate. I’ve seen way too many rednecks in my lifetime and they have no problem being called “rednecks” either. They just don’t like being called “Crackers”. I believe you need to go back to Gainesville and remember what rednecks are like…go to Skeeters (Home of the Big Biscuit) or go to Ocala or something…obviously Tampa has too many uppity folks…hee hee hee 😉

  32. Gretchen –

    The German diminutive of Margaret used by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s for a character in his 18th century play “Faust.” Popular use of the name began in the late 19th century, peaking in 1973 at No. 192.
    VARIATIONS
    Greville
    FAMOUS Gretchens
    Gretchen Wilson (country singer) Gretchen Mol (actress)

    It got three stars out of 5 for popularity…so it must be popular.

  33. No…actually I don’t…and no…you know better than to call me a Redneck “Peggy Sue”…come on now…I know it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other and all Papi, but seriously…just because I can identify a “Billy Bob” and all..this latina is NO REDNECK!!! ps…my daughter’s names are Emma and Bridget…good British names!!! 😉

  34. Pingback: Sports Chump » Sushi for life: Man nets giant fish illegally; tuna seized

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