Should you be concerned with overfishing throughout the world, I can safely assure you of this: It’s not my family’s fault.
I can prove this by the fact that, since my kids have gotten new fishing poles, we have caught exactly the same number of fish had we asked them nicely to join us on the dock.
Yet that does not deter us. In fact, if you ask my kids, they will quickly repeat the fishing cliche/mantra that “We’re going fishing, not catching.”
When we decided to get the gear, I learned that fishing is a lot like golf: You can easily spend far more than your annual salary on gadgets, devices, toys, etc. And I have a hunch it has a similar impact, at least on my game.
So we got the basics: A standard tackle box for each kid, a rod and reel combo set up and ready to go, and a cart that could hold said items and a cooler, which any fisherman will tell you is one of the most critical pieces of fishing equipment. We also got a pair of gloves that makes it easier to hold fish and a filet knife. Of course, up to this point, we could have simply brought rough sketches of the gloves and knife and they would have been just as useful.
We have tried fishing in several places, places I have been where I have actually seen people catching fish. One of our preferred places is a pier that overlooks a harbor. At this pier, I have spoken to quite a few fisherman and overheard quite a few fishing conversations. From those, I have learned that the best time to fish is high tide, low tide, medium tide, when it’s windy, when it’s still, during the day, during the night, with live bait, with artificial bait, with a combination of both. And everyone is adamant that their tips are key.
So we opted for the sensible approach which was to wait until I said, “I’m bored. Let’s go fishing.”
Our latest fishing trip happened on a lazy Sunday afternoon. When we got down to the pier, we noticed several fishermen were leaving. Clearly they saw us coming and did not want to feel inferior due to our fishing prowess.
As we passed by the bait store, a clerk told us that the winds were so strong that a lot of fishermen were packing it up. “HA!” I scoffed. “Nice excuse!” He stared blankly at me. My kids pretended they were with some other dad.
We grabbed a few sandwiches from the deli there and headed down the pier. I told the kids we’d stop at a picnic table about halfway down for lunch, and then find our fishing spot. Remember how I said it was windy? Well, when we sat down, I opened up my tray and grabbed half of my BLT. And the other half? It was blown out of the tray. I don’t think it’s a common weather saying, but I think “windy enough to steal your BLT” should be.
When we got to our fishing spot, we noticed there were only a few other brave souls left out there. We asked them what they had caught. “Windburn” was the most common answer.
The one upside of massive gusts of wind is that when you cast with the wind, you can really sling your line waaaaay out in the harbor, which is pretty much what this fishing trip turned into — a long distance casting competition. And my kids are also plenty content if they never hear me say again, just as they are about to cast, “DON’T LET GO OF THE ROD!”
So we have not had great successes reeling in actual fish yet, but I am convinced we will eventually. In particular if we go at high tide. And low tide. And day. And night. And when it’s still. But most importantly when it’s windy enough to steal your BLT.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C., and now lives in Charleston. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.