(At long last! Work has been a little nuts lately, so apologies for missing the weekly posts.)
It’s time for the second part of the Gone Fishing series … The part where I catch something bigger than my hand and finally figure what people mean about “feeling a fish on the line.” Very important lessons for survival when New York is taken over by walkers and I have to learn to live off the land. 🙂
Since we only caught one fish for three days we were in Scotland, my very generous mother in law offered to take Mr Kitchen and me for another go when we met up in the Cotswolds later in the week. She is a very accomplished fisherwoman, and even offered to teach me the basics of fly fishing–terrifying thought!
First we practiced in the garden, without a hook, so as not to seriously maim myself, my parents in law or my husband.
Let me just say that fly fishing is the most beautiful, peaceful thing when done right–the silver flicker of the line overhead, the way the fly just drops on the water. I could watch my mother in law do it all day long.
It’s a completely different story when you’re learning. I kept trying to WILL my way into the perfect cast, which was totally the wrong way about it. Apparently casting is much easier when you relax in to it. Call it the zen of fishing.
After an afternoon of lawn practice, it was off to the fishing ponds early the next morning to see what we could rustle up. The ponds are incredibly idyllic, especially when you’re the only people there:
I thought everyone was pulling my leg when they said I would be able to see the fishing leaping and blowing bubbles under the water. They weren’t! The fish are incredibly active. But there’s nothing more frustrating than casting fruitlessly for an hour when you know the darn things are practically doing the tango in front of you. As the time passed, I started to lose my fish zen. At this point my mother in law had accidentally caught not one, but TWO trout just by demonstrating how to cast!
At last my moment came: a big, slippery trout that gave me a run around on the line:
There’s this moment when the fish is out of the water and flopping around on land, and you know you’re going to have to kill it … I honestly thought I might not have the stomach for it. In the end, I was so focused on making sure that the fish had a swift and painless death (especially after all that running around on the line), that I never hesitated. A couple of bops on the head, and it was all over.
Overall, I can’t think of a better way to have learned how to fish. The Tay gave me a taste of nature, but the ponds showed me what it was like to actually catch something. I think I also finally understand why people can spend hours on the river, just whiling the time away by themselves. I once read a book with a character whose father considered Sunday fishing a more authentic version of going to church. I can’t agree more!