Sunday, March 29, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Fishing isn’t merely about catching fish, it’s about catching memories

DebraDeAngeloW

By
From page B3 | August 24, 2014 |

“Did you really go fishing?” someone asked me recently, barely hiding her incredulity.

Yes, I really did. I guess fishing just seems incongruous for a (presumably) stereotypical left-leaning liberal feminist who (allegedly) spends her time absorbing every word on the Huffington Post and snickering about Sarah Palin’s latest gaffe over a glass of white wine.

Sarah Palin — does she still exist?

Me, I’m no fan of stereotypes. In fact, I’ve made it my life’s goal to defy definition. You might think you’ve defined me, but watch me simply step outside that definition, like crayon colors just floating away from the black outlines on the page of your coloring book. Watch me drift up over your head and become a rainbow now. Hah. And you thought you had me all figured out.

So, yes. Fishing. Because it makes me happy and doesn’t harm anyone else. That’s probably the only outline I’m willing to remain within.

It was during a typical evening-unwind conversation with my husband a few weeks back when I meandered into memories of my father taking me fishing when I was little. Because I have only one sister (who was rather sickly as a child) and no brothers, I was my dad’s default son. I realized this only in retrospect, because I thought it was normal for girls to pull on their cowboy boots and jeans, and go fishing with their dads.

This will come as a huge shock to most, but I was an extremely quiet child, which made me the perfect fishing companion. I didn’t disturb the peace and quiet, and more important, didn’t scare the fish away. Also, because I viewed my dad as one of the gods when I was little, spending time with him was the most super awesome thing on Earth to me. I didn’t want to screw it up. My sister was a Mommy’s Girl, but Daddy — he belonged to me.

One of our favorite fishing spots was along the American River, and we’d hike out across what seemed then like a mile of river rocks before getting to the water. I knew how to bait my own hook and cast, and we’d get our lines in the water and sit quietly and wait, watching for the pole tips to twitch. If one bobbed or bowed, I’d whisper, “Is it a bite?”

“No,” he’d whisper back, “It’s just the current.”

One time, however, I was sure it was more than the current: a slow bow and release, bow and release.

“You’re snagged on a log,” he said.

Well, nothing you can do when you’re snagged but reel in and see if the hook comes free, or cut the line and start over. I started reeling, but the line kept coming in — very slowly and heavily. And suddenly, it yanked back.

“Hey, I think you’ve got one!” he exclaimed.

Not being a perfect default son, I switched back into girly-girl mode and handed him the pole. I didn’t like the feeling of the fish fighting on the line. That frantic thrashing reminded me of the fish flopping in the fishnet when toddler-me climbed up on a chair and flipped every single fish in Dad’s aquarium onto the living room floor. Killed them all, I did. I was on the last one, feeling it twitching in the net, when I got caught, and got my butt warmed. I might have been a quiet child, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I wasn’t devious when left unattended.

Anyway, once I felt that frantic tugging, I was more than happy to let Dad reel in the fish, which turned out to be an 18-inch steelhead. Although Dad did all the real work, he always gave me full credit for catching it, and beamed with pride in my direction every time he retold that story of the day I caught a log that turned out to be a whopper. And, let me tell you, a beam of papa pride for a Daddy’s Girl is like liquid gold pouring directly into your soul.

Sadly, not long after that, my father’s PTSD and compensatory alcoholism became more than he could manage. His mind, life and relationships all began to erode, and eventually crumble. For much of my life, I only remembered the bad times, but as I get older, the good memories trickle back — like fishing; the togetherness of sitting quietly with someone you love and trust, surrounded by nature, nothing but the sound of the river and occasional whispers, birds flitting about, and my very favorite thing  — dragonflies resting on the tip of your pole. Most of what I loved about fishing had nothing to do with actually catching fish.

“So,” I told my husband during that evening-unwind chat, “We should go fishing!” With cherished childhood fishing memories of his own, he heartily agreed. Much to my amazement, we actually stopped talking about it and just did it: got fishing licenses and new tackle, and he even bought me a brand new hot pink fishing pole and a reel that flashes purple lights when you turn it. It’s like it was designed just for me!

Next, we set out for Donner Lake and rented a boat, fully aware that we’d set out far too late in the morning to catch anything. The real “catch” was breaking out of our recreational inertia. No, we didn’t catch a freakin’ thing, but we made a break from computers, televisions and cell phones, and reconnected with nature and each other. Fishing was still as serene as I remember: being peacefully quiet, together, without the need or urge to fill the air between us with words, just watching the lines in the water. Talk about hitting the re-set button on stress.

So, fishing? Yes. We’ll be doing it again. And if we catch a fish, that’ll be really cool, but merely be a bonus. We’ll be catching memories.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at [email protected]; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

Comments

comments

Debra DeAngelo

.

News

Davis sewage to get new digs

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Where do Davis recyclables go?

By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD faculty receive lowest pay in the system

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1

 
Motive for murder-suicide remains a mystery

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Human Relations Commission hosts Chávez celebration

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

 
 
Davis Flower Arrangers meet Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

‘Music as Medicine’ is radio show topic

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Friendship the topic on radio program

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
.

Forum

Milt Prigee cartoon

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
Some ‘survey’ …

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

These results were meaningless

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Survey not representative

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

Answers on the green waste program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
A phone call could have fixed this

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

Universities need more funding

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Mayor’s corner: Looking ahead to spring

By Dan Wolk | From Page: B5 | Gallery

A Little Respect for Dr. Foster

By Nicholas Kristof | From Page: B5

 
Father of the bride snubbed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Which experiences count as ‘once in a lifetime’?

By Marion Franck | From Page: A8

 
After a month of no TV news, I’m feeling much better

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A8

Take a hike for your heart

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

Aggie softball splits doubleheader

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Republic stun Galaxy with repeated history

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Bad fourth quarter sinks boys lacrosse

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Aggies’ walkoff win clinches series against Riverside

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Burns scores shootout winner to lift Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
UCD women’s tennis dominates at home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Millennials are changing our community

By Rob White | From Page: A9

 
With new owner, DAC will Get Fit

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Grant writing for non-profits workshop set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, March 29, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8