For my littlest one’s birthday, we went fishing. She really wanted to try it, and was growing tired of just fishing in her bathtub with plastic fish. So on our most recent vacation we set up a guided fishing trip to a pond on the hotel property in Virginia where we stayed (Primland…nice!!!) Why guided? My husband and I know just enough about fishing to be dangerous. And frankly, I wanted a third party present to settle any disputes.
When I was a kid my dad taught me to fish in the Little Lehigh Creek right near our home, so I knew a little bit about it. And once, when Eve was little and we were staying in the Adirondacks, I took her fishing. And after catching the same little 6-inch sunny over and over again, I finally cleaned it and we ate it. We cooked it in a bit of butter in a cast-iron pan over a campfire, and it was the most delicious two bites of fish I’ve ever eaten.
Apparently we looked like novices, because the hotel sent three guides with us. Yes, three: Carl, Carl, and Sammy. Eve and I already knew Sammy, since we had spent 3 hours with him the day before on a fabulous horse ride up Dove Mountain. But Carl and Carl were new to us. But let me tell you this: If the world ever starts coming to an end, I want guys like Carl, Carl, and Sammy around. They taught us how to fish and within an hour-and-a-half we caught five good-size catfish.
Carl also tried to teach me to fly fish. I asked him if he had ever gotten hit by a flying hook and he said “Only once.” Well, now it’s twice. I quickly realized fly fishing was not for me. It requires way too much arm relaxation with not enough payoff. I mean…catch and release?! Forget about it. If I want to enjoy being out on a river in nature without bringing home any fish, I’ll just go out there and sit.
The other Carl cleaned our fish for us and let me fry them up in the lodge’s industrial kitchen. So within an hour of catching the fish (the truth is Eve caught most of them), we were eating them up. It was total yumness. I mean, that is the closest to “farm to table” you can get, really, unless you are eating the fish raw right from the pond.
The other thing about fishing is that it makes you care about how clean the water is where your fish come from. While I doubt Carl, Carl, and Sammy consider themselves either liberal, environmentalists, or foodies, they probably do consider themselves conservationists—and understand the importance of protecting nature more than most.
What is that old saying? Something about teaching people to fish? It’s good.