Fishing with your wife can be fun but ground rules must be established in order to maximize the experience. I quickly found out that the post-launch routine had a whole different range of unforeseen obstacles than the pre-launch routine.
On the morning of our fishing trips we each took on preparatory roles in order to guarantee smooth sailing. I would make the coffee and she would prepare breakfast. While my wife cooked breakfast, I would load the boat with the fishing poles and tackle until I was summoned to eat. After breakfast, I would finish loading up the boat and she would make us a picnic lunch to bring with us. When everything was ready to go, my wife would back the truck up to the boat and I would hitch it up. Once I gave her the thumbs up, she would pull out of the driveway to make sure everything was secure and then wait for me to jump in on the passenger’s side for the ride to the launch ramp. At the ramp, I would get out of the truck, take off the safety ropes and get into the boat, which she backed into the water. While she parked the truck, I would fire up the engine and wait for her to board. We had this routine down so smooth that we could do it blindfolded: Now for the hard part.
When the fish begin schooling at Lake Tawakoni there is no time to fool around. This is why I would always have three poles ready for action, just in case I got snagged or broke off. In the event of this happening, I would pick up one of my other poles without losing a beat. I had set up a bait casting reel for my wife and had taught her how to drop the slab down to the bottom, reel up, and repeat (the same technique used by Da Cajun Joe). This type of fishing would eliminate any casting and the dreaded backlashes that result. The first time we hit a school, the action was fast and furious. My initial toss into the busting shad landed a five pound hybrid striper that peeled off a serious run before I landed him. Throwing the fish into the live well, my wife shouted “Got one.” She pulled up a nice sized sand bass and placed it in the boat. “Could you take this fish off the hook?” she asked.
“I’ll do it this time, but you are going to have to learn how to do it yourself.” I took the fish off, threw it in the live well, and anxiously casted back into the middle of the school. As soon as the slab dropped in I had another strike, “Fish on,” I shouted.
“I’ve got one too,” she replied.
I pulled in a nice sized sandy and prepared to toss again.
“I can’t get this fish off the hook,” my wife said, “I think I hurt him─he’s hooked through the eye.”
“Just take it out with the needle-nose pliers.”
“I can’t; he’s hurt and he’s looking at me.”
“It’s not going to hurt any more than the frying pan is.”
“All right, but you have to learn how to do this yourself─I want to catch fish.”
“Do you think it hurt?”
“I don’t know; I’m not a fish.”
By the time I got the fish off the hook, the rapidly moving school had dissipated and everything suddenly went dead. “Now would be a good time to show you how to take a fish off the hook,” I said.
“I’m not touching those slimy things.”
I had anticipated that response. “You won’t have to, because I have a glove that you can use to hold the fish. Rule number one: Put the glove on your left hand and grab the fish. Using your right hand, take the needle nose pliers and pull the hook out. No muss─no fuss.”
Searching the lake with my binoculars, I spotted the seagulls circling the resurfacing school. “There they are─Hang on.”
Throwing the throttle down, I pulled along side of several other boats that had spotted the action. “Quick, toss your slab in; there must be thousands of them down there.”
“I have to pee.”
“I’m not kidding─I really got to go.”
“Well hang it over the side. The fish are going crazy.”
“I’m not hanging it over the side with these other boats here.”
“Can’t you wait?”
“No. Got to go… Got to go.”
I started up the boat and sped full blast to an isolated cove. “Hurry up,” I said, “I want to get back there.”
“Do you have any toilet paper on this thing?”
I shot her a dirty look.
The deed was done and I raced back to where the school had been. The gulls and the boats had both departed. “They’re gone; are you happy?”
“When you got to go, you got to go.”
“Rule number two: Next time you have to go don’t wait until we’re sitting in the middle of a school of fish; and if you don’t want to hang it over the side, bring the rope ladder so that you can go in the water.”
The fishing had come to a standstill and the Texas sun had begun to bake. My wife took off her warm ups, revealing her new bikini bathing suit. “Could you put some sun tan oil on my back?”
“Sure,” I said. The smell of the coconut oil made me hungry. “Let’s have some lunch while the fish are sleeping.”
The sub sandwiches and fresh fruit were taken out and we were enjoying our lunch when I spotted several boats toward the dam. Placing the food back in the cooler, I sped towards the dam where the boats were gathered. “Here we go: Get ready for some action.”
We pounded the huge school of fish, catching close to twenty keepers and I became so excited that I was unaware that all the other fishermen were looking towards our boat. When I looked up, I saw “Bubba” and his buddies staring us down. What the hell are these guys looking at? I looked at my wife and then realized that she was wearing her bikini. “Rule number three: This isn’t the French Riviera─put on some friggin’ clothes on!”
“Well excuse me!”
“We have plenty of fish; let’s go back to the marina and clean them,” I told her.
I raced back to the cleaning station, plugged in my electric knife and began to fillet the fish.
“Ohoooooo, that one is still alive,” my wife observed as the fish on cutting slab flopped around.
“Will you cut it out. How do think people clean fish? Are you some kind of closet member of ‘Greenpeace’ for sand bass? : Rule number four…”
“Stop right there and I will give you rule number four: You have too many rules, so shut
the hell up if you want me to cook these fish tonight!” (excerpt from “Gone Fishin’ “)