A captain needs (wants) his ship. A foundational story of Love, selfishness and compromise.
Way back in the early to mid 90's, in a Maine far far away during my formative years learning to fish up here (oh yes, we are from away). I soon discovered that my lack of influence on home location selection (someone else holds that power ) put me in a area somewhat close to water, but not close to beach fishing (which Is what I grew up doing on Long Island). I struggled gaining access where I wanted to fish, and beach trips were taking their toll on my time. These too were formative years in my marriage. I had decided that keeping expectations extremely low at the onset of this relationship was in my best interest as this would allow me to surprise her every now and again with unexpected good behavior (my high level marital success blueprint).
Two opposing forces, well at least two, are in play here. She loves being OTW, but hates to fish. Financial boulders aside.
My desire to be present in the relationship (which is genuine) was fully rationalized by my empowering Y chromosome when I declared "I...we.. need a boat to access better fishing close to home and so I can be around more." "If I have to drive all the way south to fish all the time it just wont work, you'll never see me (thinking she really wants to...neglecting to mention of course "I'll never see you". The grim but loving reply "we can't afford it" predictably returns like a homing scud missile. Oooh but I had a plan...
Stage I: Find some sort of cheap craft we can share, under the guise of a fishing boat....
Scraping together some hard earned extra bucks I bought a beat up used Ocean Kayak malibu II XL (family fun dual sit on top kayak). I was immediately turned on by the added rod and drink holders, and hold downs for baitwell/cooler ETC. The previous owner had a fishfinder on it too. I thought to myself....This will offer countless hours of smoochy sunset paddles with the wife, Oh and BTW, did you see the rod holders on this thing? This thing was a fisherman's marriage saving machine! I'm in!
Well, after a few short paddles with the Mrs. she was hooked, wanted to go kayaking all the time... with me?
Stage II: Ease into fishing mode..
I (we) learned a lot real fast about fishing these Maine waters, finding structure, learning the tides, and best fishy haunts, but maneuvering a big yak around and trying to fish on structure was a trick, and it needed to go to the next level...
I convinced her that we were spending so much time OTW and her paddling was so strong now, that she would take up stern seat, and let my plug a bit here and there when we saw fish or fishy spots. she could keep us in position.....OK???? Really???
Now, casting with your better half 5' directly behind you can be a daunting task, but with precision and hope, what could go wrong? We (me) were soon catching bass all around the islands, but usually just short 1-1/2 hour stints, as the return to smoochy sunset paddles was requested. After two years of this, I again delivered, with a more wizened delivery..."We obviously love being OTW and need to upgrade to a bigger boat, one with space so fishing is safe (for you), and we can go out further, pursue Island picnic happiness and even more smoochy sunsets". I realized at that moment how Johnny Cochran must have felt delivering "if the glove does not fit...you must...."
Again I am met with the financial Heisman. "We just can't afford it, and more importantly, don't need it". Beaten, but not broken, I press on. Time to re-engage Y chromosome forces, adapt, reshape the plan.
Stage III: "The incident".
Early one mid July morning we round the edge of a confluence of currents that always stack bait. Comorants, Seals, terns, gulls, water exploding! Huge school of Macs getting hammered. I could see the tinks getting blasted out of the water, so i decide to try to grab a few to liveline. Wait, "what are you doing"..she said? "Why don't you use one of those plug things"...We had'n't livelined from this craft together before, and I forgot to mention another force at work. She "REALLY doesn't like fish guts/blood. Anyway Y chromosome prevails and a 1 1/4 ounce diamond jig goes on for a few casts and I have a few macs quickly to get to work. Decide for one more cast at bait. I hook into what feels like a bigger mack, then WHAM! Full on screamer of some kind of big fish, somehow feels hooked and screams off drag. Fish takes a few big runs and then flies right at the yak, I recover the slack and the fish heads to the flemish cap with one big tail thump...Thwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack, I yank the hook out of the fish, and from nearly 20 yards away a not so small diamond jig with half a large mackeral is now heading right at us at mach schnell.
Now, when having just microseconds to think about a weighted hook with half a bait fish on it headed at you at a high rate of speed you might consider the person sitting behind you..
These like many others can be trying times for a coastal marriage.
Yes, I ducked.. instinctively, allowing said bloody bait with weighted hook to lodge halfway down the sportsbra of my guide, my wife, my love.
After a lot of swearing, a roll over in very fishy water, a lengthy, enlightening conversation, and then a lot of laughing, the day ended with..."OK I think you can get that bigger boat now...I can't take another day like that"...
20 years later, still married, a wonderful fishing fiend daughter, a boat, 3 kayaks, a canoe, two paddleboards and WAY more stories..
I think my plan worked?
Tight lines friends.
I Sh**&^t myself laughing while writing/reliving this.