Is fishing a hobby or a sport? It depends on who is doing the fishing and why. Television shows that have fishermen touting the best spots to fish, best lures, poles, line, hooks, boat, boots and all the other equipment that it takes to fish, show it as a sport. But the true fishermen, the ones that grab a pole, a shovel to dig worms and a tin can to keep them in—now those are hobby fishermen.
My husband really likes to fish. I like to fish too but my attention span is that of a hummingbird, I flit. Flit from one spot to the next, changing the orange lure to the pretty red one. Using worms or any other matter of bait or sharp barbed goody I can find in the tackle box. Then about forty minutes later my attention turns to a book or a bird bobble heading by along the water’s edge. While I flit and scurry and generally never sit still long enough to catch a cold, he fishes with patience and calmness. Of course he likes to catch too but just the fact that he is fishing seems to be almost as good catching. He likes to throw most of the fish back into the water making him a catch and release fisherman, but he does keep enough for breakfast. Which is where I come in. Yes it is still all about me!
I learned along the way by watching him, how to do the after fishing business. One day it happened; it became necessary for me to clean and scale the fish that were to become our breakfast. There the two trout were lying on the picnic table still hanging on the chain thingy, (that is where you put your caught fish so they can’t get away) and there I was with the water, wash pan, and knife.
First; scaling. I know there is controversy as to whether fish need to be scaled before cooking, but I am very grateful that my other half always scales the fish we devour. It just seems cleaner and you are not picking scales out of your teeth for days afterwards. Ick.
Fish are slippery, even in rigor. The wetter you get them to clean them the slipperier they become. The slippery stuff gets on your hands and during the cleaning/scaling process it just gets everywhere; arms, face, hair, pants, shirt, the dog. This is, I delightfully found out, why fishermen smell like fish at the end of the day. It isn’t because they are fishing and outside and by the water. It is because the cleaning event deposits fishy stuff EVERYWHERE!
A deep breath and I grabbed fish number one by the tail and began the scaling process. The scales came off fairly easily and they flung across the table nicely leaving the fish less slippery and smooth to the touch. I continued; Scale, fling, wipe knife on pants–scale, fling, wipe knife on pants. After years of watching him do this task with ease and finesse I’m sure my first attempt made our camp look like a massacre had occurred.
Then, skipping the gory details let’s just say I got the stuff from the inside of the fish to the outside of the fish and disposed of all mater without too much trouble. I’m more than sure I could not do that to a deer or other large trophy. I’m glad though that there are those than can because I like to eat. Just a bit of commentary….
Eventually both fish were emptied of their innards, stripped naked of scales, fins and (gulp) their heads were removed with a crunch of knife to bone. A final wash with clean water, the two fish were bagged and put away to become breakfast the next morning. Which they did.
So, is fishing a hobby or a sport? I thought for a while and decided after getting all the gear together, driving to the fishing hole, setting camp, going through the tackle box, readying the poles, getting to the water, catching, cleaning, cooking, and re-cleaning afterwards, it sounds like work, feels kinda like work too. But the sigh and smile you hear and see around the campfire after a good day of fishing makes me say, fishing is neither a hobby of a sport, it is a lifestyle.
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.