"Saving Your Relationship"
By Jerry White
"I'm Gonna Miss Her" by Brad Paisley
Well I love her
But I love to fish
I spend all day out on this lake
And hell is all I catch
Today she met me at the door
Said I would have to choose
If I hit that fishin' hole today
She'd be packin' all her things
And she'd be gone by noon ...
Well, I'm gonna miss her ...
Folks, it doesn't have to be this way. It's all about compromise ... which is true for making any segment of a relationship work. Now if you're one of those guys that simply must have some "guy" time, this article won't do much for you. But, if you'd like to find another way to share some quality time with the little lady, read on.
DR. PHIL OR JERRY SPRINGER?
Through my travels across many internet forums I've heard many men (and some women) whine because their significant other is violently opposed to the sport of fishing (kayak or otherwise). As a result, tensions build, and the thrill is gone. However, once the layers are peeled back, it's not the sport that is the issue. The sport could just as easily be football or poker. Well, poker's not really a sport ... but I digress. Quoting Brad Paisley again, it's more about "time well wasted". More importantly, it's about time spent apart. And, if she's willing to meet you half way, you owe it to yourself to take a few steps of your own to meet her.
SELLING THE SPORT OF KAYAKING:
This is easy. I'm guessing that not only is your partner not a paddler, she's not much in to fishing either. From a distance, the entire sport looks like it could be intimidating - there's lots of "stuff" involved in kayak fishing. But breaking it down in to segments may make it easier to embrace. Sell kayaking first. If the fishing is bad, kayaking may save the day. I'll spare you the safety speech, but cover the basics and take the time to show her the safe way to have fun kayaking. In my experience, I've never shown a person the sport of kayaking and had them come to me at the end of the day and say they didn't ever want to get in a kayak again. I don't have to convince you what a great sport it is. All you have to do is provide opportunity and plant the seeds.
SELLING THE SPORT OF PADDLE FISHING:
This will be a much harder sell. In order to do this, you may have to engage in a little "myth busting 101". Just keep in mind that if she had a blast just paddling around she may not even care to pick up a rod, and that's perfectly fine too.
SIMPLIFYING THE PROCESS:
- "Fishing is messy"
Use lures ... next item.
- "Fishing is hard"
Fishing is easy. Sometimes "catching" is hard. Casting isn't always easy either. And furthermore, casting from a sitting position doesn't make it any easier. Spend some time on dry land helping to hone the art of casting. Once done, it will be easier to do from a boat.
- "Fishing is boring"
Can't argue that - sometimes it is. But, if you can make the first couple of trips short and somewhat productive, that will go a long way when it comes to coaxing her to go again. And, if the fishing turns sour, do something else like sightseeing, bird-watching, or experiment with some photography.
- "I don't want to be on the water all day"
And, the smart angler will feel the same way. We all know that there are prime times in any given 24 hour period to fish - let that be a starting point
- "Let's just get a tandem so we can stay together"
Just say "No". One of the glorious things about kayaking is that people paddling together can still go do their own thing. If you only have one boat, rent one for a day for one of you. Tandem boats have their place, but not when its occupants are slinging lures with barbed hooks.
- "What do I do if a fish pulls me out of the boat?"
You should be so lucky. Here in west central Florida your first response to a premature evacuation from the vessel is to simply stand up - the bays and flats here are usually pretty shallow. But seriously, if you practice those recovery skills a couple times before you get into deep water, you'll eliminate a lot of those fears. If your sweetie has a little less than cat-like balance, you might want to take a few paddling-only trips before you introduce a rod a reel.
I spend a lot of time reading about lures, strategies, checking the tides, and of course, reading internet forums and seeing what's working for everyone in my area. My wife however, does not. I have cut way down on the gear I take as well. My wife takes a small box of lures, and one rod. She's taught me a lot about simplifying this sport. We fished this past weekend, we each had one rod, and few select lures. Prep was quick, the launch was quick, making tackle choices while on the water was easy, and the load up took less than 10 minutes, I'm serious.
PADDLERS THAT FISH, ANGLERS THAT PADDLE:
This is one leg to the root of the problem. Me, I have 3 boats (as of this morning). And these boats have been rotated out a good bit, because I always am looking for the perfect kayak fishing vessel. I'm an angler that likes to paddle. My wife has kept her same boat for 4 years as I've gone through at least 10. She's a paddler that likes to simply spend time on the water. Sometimes that will involve fishing, but she'd be just as happy without a rod holder on her boat. And, as time goes by I'm finding that I enjoy cruising across the water as much as I like trying to pull something out of it. It's about finding that balance, and understanding that you don't have to fish just because you can.
KEEP IT FUN:
If you're not having fun because you're not catching fish, then trust me, she won't see any joy in it. It's not because she isn't catching any fish, it's because she's trying to enjoy time with you, and you aren't doing the same. When my wife and I fished this weekend, we paddled a while, got out and waded a while, watched some wildlife for a while, and finally caught some fish. Speaking of that, she took me to school on that one. A guy close to us was catching fish right and left. While I'm trying to squint and see what lure he's using, she just asked him (guess it's comparable to asking for directions). He told her, she started fishing with a similar lure … FISH ON. I figure I could do just as well using several other lures, based on my far superior interpretation of the conditions, tides, migratory patterns, etc … nope. I didn't start catching fish until I was following their lead, step for step. At the end of the day, she'd landed 3 to my 1. But, we had a blast before the first bite. The catching was no more than a bonus to a glorious day on the water.
Granted, nothing says "I Love You" quite like a handful of "Gulp" products, you still need to pick up some flowers. Most of the major clothing makers have lines of fishing shirts specifically for women … that'd make a great Valentine's gift - bridge that chasm between fashion and fishin'. Gentlemen, set your reminders … you have 21 days to prepare for Valentine's Day. Make those romantic dinner reservations TODAY. Go get a heartfelt card TODAY. Don't let Valentine's Day turn out like a country song.
Hopefully, the next time you're out on the water with your favorite bait deployed, you'll be able to turn to your lady and say (again, thank you Brad Paisley), "lookee there … I got a bite …".
See you out on the water...
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after"
~ Henry David Thoreau
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