Nonfiction Memoir

How Not to Fish

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, known as Old Well, Virginia, my dad took me fishing. A real father and son bonding moment. We were on a small boat in my grandpa’s pond.

I caught fish stick after fish stick.

Actual sticks.

Good size ones, too.

Fit right in the frying pan.

That’s what I reeled in.

But my dad didn’t come out here for fish sticks. My dad wanted to eat fish fillets. He saw my failed attempts at reeling in the big one as an educational moment, a dad moment, and shows me a bit more about the nuances of how to fish: this is how you fix your line, cast the rod, and so on.

“Now give it a go,” he says.

Armed with my newfound knowledge, I cast my rod back and whammo! I catch my dad in the face with my fishing hook. Right in the underside of his eyebrow.

Picture this: I’m in the front of the boat. My dad is seated in the back. There is a fishing hook attached to a line attached to my rod attached to my hand and the fishing hook is in my dad’s eyebrow.

I mean right there, too, the meaty part where your lacrimal gland is. Hmm, in writing this, maybe that’s why my dad always needed eyedrops when I was growing up. I thought it was allergies. Maybe I damaged his ability to produce tears.

My dad curses like a sailor, which he sort of is in this moment since we’re on a boat and all, cuts the line with his knife, drops a couple more four letter words that start with s— and f—, rows us back to shore, and we hop in his pickup truck and drive to my grandpa’s country store for assistance.

We walk into Old Well Grocery, my dad holding his hand over his eye, and my grandpa says upon our arrival, “Catch anything?”

My dad takes his hand off his eye and there’s crusted blood around the fish hook in the underside of his eyebrow.

“Let me get the pliers,” my grandpa says without hesitation.

I learned to fish that day. Well, how not to fish.

And I picked up one very important lesson in life: if you ever catch your dad in the face with a fish hook, you’re probably not getting your usual bottled Coca Cola and MoonPie at the store for the ride home.

If you enjoyed this story, I have a favor:

  1. Share this story with a friend by text or social media,
  2. Hit the subscribe button below, and
  3. Check out these two stories of a similar nature at:

Photo by Trophy Technology on Unsplash

8 replies on “How Not to Fish”

Glad you enjoyed it Carole. I started off writing a completely different essay (one about playing tennis with my kids) and then somewhere along the way this old memory popped up, so I figured I best capture it in words. I’ve told my kids this story a hundred times whenever they ask me about going fishing.

Now there’s a fishing story. Passes along to my fish friends. Good job!

Comments are closed.