If I could only pick one person to be my mate it would be my wife. I never would have said that 12 years ago when we bought our first boat, a new 25-foot Aquasport Walk-Around, after purchasing a small house on a canal. We knew nothing about the area and knew even less about owning a boat. As you can imagine, it wasn’t all roses from the beginning. We had many tough times on the water together. Having just moved, I didn’t know any other fishermen in the area so my wife would go with me so I didn’t go alone. She feared that call from the Coast Guard. I have to admit I put her through hell – fishing in pouring rain, in very windy conditions and bone chilling temperatures. What she really hated was fishing at night. Let me share with you a few trips that helped shape not only our boating lives but also our relationship.
After another day of catching nothing, fishing was quickly feeling more like a chore than a passion. To make matters worse, Gina informed me that she didn’t want to fish with me anymore because I was no longer fun to be around. She was right, who wants to fish with a person who is constantly negative? As I sat on the couch after we cleaned the boat, Gina walked through the door holding our tackle box. She said if this is going to work she needed to learn a few things. We sat in our living room for two hours going over all the lures and terminal tackle. We went through names of lures and what fish we would target them with. All that she asked for in return was for me to be more positive when we are fishing.
One late May day, we finally found some bunker to net. I use an extra heavy fast-sink 10-foot cast net. It’s heavy and it gets exhausting really quickly. After the net came up for the fifth time in a row with no bunker, she needed a break. It was time to have Gina run the boat while I went to the bow and instructed her what to do. I pointed out a school of bunker and I told her to head right for them. I thought she would understand that “go right at them” meant to turn the boat so I could throw the net. However, to Gina “go right at them” meant “go right at them.” She ran right over the school. I stomped my foot like a 5-year old child, and my wife nearly fell to the floor laughing so hard. When she finished laughing I politely explained what I meant. She replied with a big goofy grin on her face “Aye-Aye Captain.” I moved up to the bow once again. She moved the boat so I could get off a good throw. Up comes a net filled with 50 bunker. This was a huge turning point for us. We were becoming a team.
I have a bunch of really close buddies that I fish with nowadays but I would choose my wife over all of them. There is no one that I can fish with who will look out for me the way my wife does. If I’m cranky she knows I need to eat something. She always keeps me hydrated. She makes sure I have enough sun block on. I love fishing with my buddies but let’s be realistic, they couldn’t give a rat’s behind if I ate, keep myself hydrated or used sun block.
If I ask her for a certain rig or lure, she knows what I’m looking for and where it is. When we are fishing live bait she doesn’t need me to put one on her hook for her. When we troll for pelagics we work as a well-oiled machine putting out our spread. When a fish hits she knows which lines to clear. She can filet fish much better than I can. A great mate allows his or her captain to concentrate on finding fish and keeping everyone safe.
If you hope to get your wife involved in fishing just make sure you know her limits. It’s an awesome feeling being able to share my passion with my wife. When you get to share so many firsts with your wife it forms an inseparable bond, and the memories you experience together will be there forever.