License to Kill

Three weeks ago I was supposed to try fishing but it rained all the time. So two weeks ago I was going to try fishing but it rained some more. I took it as a sign that I shouldn’t fish, but my husband insisted that we could find a two hour window with no rain some time during the week.

I come from a family of fishermen. My dad even wrote a book about it. He is an obsessed experienced fly fisherman whose office and car are prominently decorated with flies.

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My brother is fly fishing guide in Wyoming whose calves are prominently decorated with flies.

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I’m not sure how I managed to go my whole life without fishing, but I can’t say I have any regrets. The trouble is that my husband took up fishing a few years ago and my youngest son is constantly nagging him to go. He even made a fishing license so my husband couldn’t use that as an excuse.

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Fritz loves telling me all the best places to go and the best kind of bait to use, always ending with, “But we never have any luck when we go fishing.” And yet, he still wants to go again and again and so does my husband. I don’t really understand it – is it like gambling? Do people fish because even after failed cast after cast, there’s always that chance of luck the next time around? Is that the attraction, that it’s like a slot machine?

I thought I should at least try it, especially because it means so much to these four guys. I bought a license, and not just a one-day license but a 365-day license on the assumption that I would want to go more than once. How’s that for gamblers’ optimism?

But then the rain came and it was so easy to procrastinate. Why did I keep trying to put it off? I always try to stay away from places where I think I might be cold – camping, football games, movie theaters. I pile on the layers every time I board an airplane (there are never enough of those “blankets” to keep me warm). Also, fish creep me out because they twitch and squirm when you are least expecting it. Also, fishing seems so boring. Also, if you catch a fish, you have to clean out its guts. I think I’d rather be bored than have to gut a fish. Also, fish hooks are dangerous! Look what happened to me last summer just watching my family fish.

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But on Friday afternoon the heavens parted for exactly two hours so we could give it a try. And here, from my very brief experience, are my impressions of fishing:

Cons:

The Gear – Packing it up, buying more, knowing which thingamabob to use with which goopy stuff, unknotting line. Tedious.

The People – We did meet a few very nice people at the reservoir, but there were other not so nice people yelling at their kids, playing loud music and swearing, and sound carries over water so we could hear them clearly no matter how far away we were.

The Cold – It was cold.

The Smell – Fish and bait and reservoir water kind of stink. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was there.

Carpal Tunnel – The repetitive motion and grip were not good for my delicate (wimpy) hands and wrists, but I was able to recover after some Advil and a few days’ rest.

The Worms – In my fridge.

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Pros:

The View – Utah’s a beautiful place to live and I don’t get out to see enough of it.

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The Company – Hanging out for a few hours with these guys made braving the cold totally worth it.

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The Thrill of the Chase – I have to admit, I was secretly relieved that we didn’t catch anything that day because I know my husband probably would have made me touch any fish I caught. But there were a few moments when I felt some tugs on my line, when there was some hope of success, and it was kind of exciting. I wasn’t really disappointed when the fish got away, but I can see how people who actually wanted to catch a fish would be disappointed.

I know I didn’t spend enough time fishing to get the full experience. I really did want to go a few more times, but the weather didn’t cooperate. I know I’ll be going again because I’m now fully trained and licensed. Maybe I’ll even learn to love it, you never know.

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(Fritz’s favorite joke: “Looks like you caught your limit! You’ve got a really big fish in your net!”)

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