The first rule of being a good fisherman, and my god father will attest to this, is that you have to be a good story teller. I took my daughters to the Fishing Derby in Danville the other weekend and I was lucky enough to see my youngest catch her first fish ever. After getting over the initial shock of it and a bit of fright over seeing it flop around, she decided it was really really neat. To see her smile and how proud she was of herself made it a awesome day.
Now it wasn’t the biggest fish in the world, but it was a good 9 and 1/2 inches, and was a very pretty brook trout. So after we landed it and put it in the bucket, she decided to name it Caroline, and I was worried I was in trouble right then and there. The last time we brought home a fish it was from the pet store, cost 25 cents, was named Dorothy and lived for two years. This time I knew for sure the fish wasn’t going to live out the evening, it was destined for, well, dinner.
On the way back to the car she asked me what we were going to do to the fish. I hesitated for a second before answering her honestly saying we were going to take it home, kill it, clean it, and cook it. I waited for it, worried about the tears to come, a balling 4 year saying please don’t kill my fish, and then it came ” can I watch. ” I exhaled thanking God quickly and heard my oldest daughter say ” that will be disgusting.”
At home, with the fish swimming around in the bucket, my youngest comes out to check on it just as I am getting ready to snap its neck with my hands. Perfect timing, of course. The long and short of it is she watched me dispatch of the fish without any problems, and before I know it, they were both in the kitchen watching me get ready to take a knife to the fish.
And then, as quick as a French Revolution, it was off with the head. Again, I waited for screams of horror, only to hear from my youngest daughter, ” that’s cool.” It was the complete opposite of what I was expecting to hear, and I couldn’t have been happier to hear it because I can still take them fishing knowing they aren’t traumatized by the whole incident. When the fish was all cleaned up and ready to be cooked I got lunch ready for them. A simple peanut butter and jelly, nothing fancy, and as I watched them eat away happily, it was all I could do to finish my sandwich without throwing up just thinking about what I had to do to that poor fish. I was never much for dissecting things in science class and I guess I still am not, but it at least provided a meal for my family that night, although I couldn’t bring myself to eat any of it.