Of Fishes and Families

Today’s post comes from Jim Tjepkema

I tell people that if they go fishing with me they will not catch any fish.

The main reason for my lack of success – fishing is low on my list of preferred activities. I had great time fishing with my Grandfather as a boy. The same was true for my father. He took part in outings organized by my Grandfather and had fun doing that, but he almost never when on any other fishing trips.

Dad spent a lot of time sitting in boats with his father, and he did not appreciate it when his father stayed out on the water for extended periods of time in bad weather trying catch a few more fish. Apparently these unpleasant hours caused him to develop a dislike for the activity.

But while Dad and I didn’t inherit Grandfather’s passion, my Granddaughter enjoyed fishing at summer camp and asked us to give her a chance to do more. We found a place where we could fish with her from a dock, and she managed to catch 3 or 4 “keepers”.

We ate them for dinner.

Actually my wife and I were the only ones who ate the fish, because Granddaughter is a vegetarian. She tried a small sample and didn’t like it. She will not be carrying on the family fishing tradition in the same way my Grandfather did because he loved eating fish as well as catching them.

Never the less, she does seem to have his love of catching fish.

How does your family feel about fish?

76 thoughts on “Of Fishes and Families”

  1. my dad hated fishing. took us once and it was a disaster. never went again. i went a time or two with my kids but im a catch and release guy so no eating and im sad if i hook em wrong and mess em up
    i had 2 kids with birthdays yesterday
    my daughter whose husband fell in love with ice fishing and that is transfering into a desire to fish in the non frozen season as well and my son who just graduated from college. he is a fly fisherman and goes out in a meditative expedition a couple times a week
    he either doesn’t catch em or doesn’t keep em as he is a catch and release guy too. maybe with this new move to the lake area we will get more of it this year, i kind of hope so. lake activities are do nature based. a little more of that is always good.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. OK, tim you just hit one of my hot buttons in life. IMHO, if you eat fish you are not vegetarian. You can call yourself a pescatarian if you need a label, but fish on your plate – not a vegetarian.

          Liked by 3 people

      1. vegetarians, Christians, people of moral integrity….
        all have perameters they embrace. they do not seem to care too much about your hot buttons

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  2. My experience with fish is very bobber-like. Taking my turn feeding the fish in the third grade class aquarium, was an “up” Returning the next day to find that I had accidentally turned up the temperature and they were all dead was a “down”. Watching the kids catch sunnies from the dock was an “up”. Placating the future father-in-law by enduring the Minnesota opener, was a “down”. Having a feast of walleye cheeks at the end of ice fishing season, was an “up “. Drinking far too much at the party, was a huuuuge “down”. Learning that my expertise with a carpet knife translated very well into master filleter, another “up”. Battling whole populations of hornets

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      1. I wonder what Dale has in mind with his list of the Baboon Congress. Is it a list of people who have been engaged with the blog since it started (Like pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower)? Or is it meant to show who “is one of us” now by contributing faithfully? If that is the case, Wes should be included IMHO.

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  3. If by family you include the cats, they are in favor of fish. Unfortunately, the oldest cat is allergic, so it’s been banished from their menu. My roommate has the occasional pub meal of fish and chips. I think, however, that she and I agree that fish really are best swimming around a thriving coral reef, or devouring mosquito larvae in a lake.

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  4. Since I edited a magazine that was mostly about fishing, people were often surprised to learn that I rarely ate fish. One reason was that I wasn’t always able to catch them. But it mainly reflected the fact I don’t enjoy killing, cleaning or eating fish.

    During my first midlife crisis–which occurred when I was 20–I discovered the joys of catch-and-release trout fishing. What a happy moment that was, for the fish and for me. They didn’t have to die and I didn’t have to clobber them and cut them up. Win win.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. From a once avid hunter and fly-fisherman, Steve, I wonder if you have the sense of “killing” something when you shoot it?

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        2. I thought I might get this question. It is complicated, PJ. I disliked killing things as a hunter. My discomfort increased over the years. For various reasons, I was relatively okay with killing birds. Killing mammals became extremely difficult, and that was the point of doing it. Toward the end I killed about one deer a year. For me it was a symbolic act of accepting responsibility for all the animals that died (especially those that died in slaughterhouses out of public sight) because of my habit of eating meat.

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  5. My mother’s father loved to fish. I remember going with him down to the Watonwan River to catch bullheads. And I remember catching a big northern when we were fishing on Leech Lake with him. I tried casting for cutthroat trout in Wyoming as an adult, but that was for breakfast. Now it is not something I have an interest in or patience. On the other hand, I love to eat fish…virtually any kind any time prepared any way.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for the memory, Jim. I recall a weekend fishing trip when I was maybe 7 – my good friend and I got to go with our dads (our moms got to stay home with the little kids). My memories include staying in an old hotel, eating a really delicious hamburger somewhere, and learning that catfish didn’t look like cats. I doubt that we were much help, and wish my dad was alive so I could ask him what he remembers from this trip. Will contact my friend…

    Husband remembers getting up before at crack of dawn to go fishing with his dad, one of his positive memories he has with his dad. What he remembers most is the peacefulness of sitting there on the lake.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “The” question asked by persons learning we live on a lake…”Oh, do you fish?”. A rather bewildered look is the response to our ‘no’. That answer is a real conversation killer. But we’d have already hit a dead end.

    I went fishing with both grandfathers as a child on this lake. The one rule was to not talk…I’d scare the fish away. I know now it was to shut me up….but I believed it then and my greatest moment of glory was catching the largest sunny during one of those outings. I never cleaned fish….that was the boys-or men’s job. Maybe that is why I was seldom included in the fishing evenings….boy’s/men’s activitity…not girls.
    That was thought by my grandparents…and probably my mother. My father would have let me do just about anything I chose…but he did not like to fish so that was that. Then came the summer of eating deliciously prepared sunnys when a bone lodged in my throat…removed by my father. That experience rather soured me for eating fish of any kind…almost forever.

    So, now how do I feel about fish? Husband and I dine out.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, a memory just popped up…my grandfather teaching me to clean the fish. Can’t remember my reaction, but I don’t recall it being unpleasant. Maybe I just like spending time with him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. My dad used to wake me up at some ungodly early hour to sit (shivering and yawning) in the boat with him while he motored around the shoreline. It is a type of fishing called trolling. It can be peaceful and pretty at times, although you always have the motor running. My dad assumed I was into the fishing as deeply as he was. I couldn’t tell him I hated trolling but loved being with him.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. We’re non-fish at our house. My mother wasn’t a big fan of fish so about the only fish I ever had in my childhood was tuna fish. And then not too much because my dad didn’t like tuna so we only had it on nights when my dad was traveling for work.

    I only fished a few times as a kid on vacation up north but was bored to tears by it. Now if they’d let me bring a book…………

    Liked by 3 people

  9. One of my granddaughters, Brandi, fell in love with a boy named Jake. He’s a vegan (which I think is an extreme vegetarian?), so she decided to become a vegetarian. Almost every day, she posts pictures or videos of animals being tortured on Facebook. Hundreds of cute little chicks on an assembly line being tossed or saved depending on its quality, then being thrown into a huge spinning machine. And then there was the pig video showing squealing pigs trying to get away from their executioner. A video with cows being pulled by tractors when they refused to enter the slaughter chamber.

    I think she’s a full time paid member of the Make Them Feel Ashamed of Ever Eating Meat Again club. I must admit I gave it some thought before eating a ham sandwich.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of people call vegans “extreme vegetarians.” It’s flattering that some people think we’re these tough ecowarriors or whatever, but I don’t find anything extreme about it–we just avoid products that come from animals, which means we’ll eat anything that comes off a plant. When I think of extreme, I think of raw foodists; those people are INTENSE. Just my two cents as a purveyor of the lifestyle!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Fish are de’lish! I love most all kinds of fish. But fishing in general, no. I forgot who it was that said, “there’s a fine line between fishing, and standing holding a rod looking stupid”. No offense to fisher-people, but that’s kind of my take-away. It’s really exciting while you’re pulling in that crappie or sunfish, but the hours of waiting and watching that stupid bobber just may not make up for that time. Although it is relaxing and beautiful to be out on the lake.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. For personal reasons, I didn’t like being with my parents when they lived on the lake, but ANY time my dad called saying they’ve fry up Northern Pike, I was out there on a dime. To this day, I miss my dad’s Northern Pike. A lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My dad loved to fish, and did so on Lake of the Woods and the Missouri River near Chamberlain, SD. I never liked freshwater fish because of the bones. I also didn’t like fish prepared at school because of the smell. There was no such thing as fresh fish in the grocery stores when I was growing up. My attitudes toward fish changed when changed when I was in college and went on band tour to Seattle. I never had fish that fresh before and i really liked it. We had lots of fresh fish in the groceries in Winnipeg, and have nice options for fish here now.

    My dad hadn’t been fishing for many years when he lived with us here for the summer. We took him fishing for perch, and he really had a good time. I still don’t like freshwater fish, I am afraid. My dad could have had walleye at every meal and not become tired of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I have loved fishing since I was a little kid. Dad and I were great fishing buddies. He had a small boat that we’d take out fishing in all kinds of weather; the choppier the water, the better. We spent hours, sitting there quietly, often both cold and wet, waiting for the occasional cod to bite. The rule was that I had to haul the fish in by myself, and I was also responsible for removing the hook from any fish I had caught. If we caught more cod than we could eat, it was also my job to go around to neighbors to see if anyone was interested in a free cod or two. I hated that part, I thought I was imposing on people, something I still detest.

    Later on, during my college years, our next door neighbor, Jim Frisch, and I became great fishing buddies. It was a completely different kind of fishing, standing on the shore casting into a lake in Southern Illinois. We usually didn’t catch much, but both enjoyed just communing with nature. Wasband and Frisch’s wife, would sometimes tag along but usually not participate, and pretty soon she’d start whining about being bored. Never did understand that.

    At our house we don’t eat much fish, except canned tuna. Husband came from a family that ate fried herring every Friday, and he hated it. That has translated into a life-long distaste for fish of any kind – except canned tuna. As a result I rarely cook fish at home.

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  13. If it swims. I like the taste. I could eat fish every day.
    My daughter is allergic to all but shell fish, as are her children.
    I enjoyed fishing, especially trolling for the calm and peace that alluded Steve. Loved being out on the lake on early summer mornings.Did not get to do very much. Was never willing to spend the my money on a boat. I used to fish with friends who had boats who knew about quit little lakes hidden off dirt roads. Very often we would see moose in the reeds. Was too busy. My kids found it boring.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It is my high pain season.
      Re my accountants security breach: they do not seem to have gained access to my bank accounts, but we are switching them over, which means dealing with changing auto deposits and withdrawals. This is one year I am glad i owe money on my taxes.

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      1. Seniors are not prime targets for this kind of identity theft. People over 65 are not eligible for Earned Income Credit, which is where the big money is in fraudulent tax returns.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know many seniors who have had identity stolen. The fake IRS calls are about that and target seniors.
          They can file for your return. The breach in my accountants’s firm has now proven to be more extensive than was thought.

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        2. I’ve never had the phishing calls, but someone tried to e-file with my info. Form 14309 gets you an identity protection PIN from the IRS. I’ve had no trouble since.

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  14. At this moment we have sea bass, monk fish, scallops, and salmon in the freezer. Daughter hates fish, and we will be on the North Sea and the Irish Sea on our trip in May. She will have to sink or swim when it comes to meals.

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      1. In my experience, BiR, not liking fish very often has to do with some preconceived notion that it’ll taste fishy, or have too many small bones, or some other objection that just doesn’t hold true for all fish. I do think the freshness of fish makes a huge difference, though.

        I don’t think most people generalize about pork, chicken, or beef the way they do about fish. There are so many different kinds of fish, and several excellent ways of cooking them (or not – think sushi), but a lot of people will have one bad experience with fish and conclude that they don’t like fish.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I love all those fishes you mention…when’s dinner? And if you didn’t catch them yourself, where do you buy such delicacies in ND?

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      1. Fresh at the grocery stores. Since we have had an influx of oil workers from southern states, our fish choices have increased substantially. They even sell frog legs and crayfish.

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    1. I LOVE eel. The best. Smoked, yum. Fried, delicious. In aspic, oh my. And don’t forget to try it curried. Seriously, eel is a delicacy, and I love them.

      We used to catch our own. It’s done at night, in the dark, in shallow waters. We’d have a lit gas lantern to hold out over the side of the boat, and we’d spear them with a fork like implement. We’d catch them between the tines.

      Large eels can be oily, but medium sized ones are fabulous.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Just Googled “blusse ål,” the term used for catching eels back then. Discovered that spearing eels and using light, like everyone did back then, has been illegal since the mid sixties. Wonder how they catch them now.

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        1. My only “experience” with eel is the scene in The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass where they used a horse head to catch them…it’s been many years since I read that book, could I have remembered wrong?

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  15. I only fished a few times as a kid. I loved having fresh sunnies for dinner. But I didn’t have to clean or cook them.

    I miss the guy who sold the rainbow trout fillets at the farmers market a couple of years ago. They were so delicious.

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    1. Me too. But Dave, the current fish guy is great. He’s only there on Saturdays. He also has Alaskan salmon (shh, don’t tell anyone – it’s not local). He doesn’t advertise it, but those of us who are “regulars” know to ask for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would add NW Washington state to Linda’s list. Oh, in the old days NYC down by the wharfs…a friend and her husband took us to a place where they turned “butter into fish” Not there anymore, of course.

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        1. Cape Cod might also be an option, yes? Oh, and the west coast of Norway where I had my first monkfish (Breiflabb)…ugly but nummy.

          Liked by 3 people

      2. Somewhere down around Jackson MS there is a little catfish restaurant. Yes, I did say I don’t like fish, but if you batter fry it deep enough it can be OK.
        What I remember most was the coleslaw and saltine crackers. Oh my goodness; a standard has been set and I have yet to find an equal.
        Sounds like it’s a ‘southern’ thing. Anyone??

        Liked by 2 people

  16. Over the weekend I went down in the pastures and along the banks of Silver Creek (The Olmsted County ‘Silver Creek’).
    Found an open clam shell in the grass. Thankfully it’s not a zebra mussel. So that led to some research on mollusks in MN and some very interesting reading on how they grow and how populous they used to be all over North America.
    This one is about 4″ across. Trying to determine age; I’m not sure if each little ridge is a year? (Each ridge being about 1/64″ of an inch) or if it’s each large ring, being about 1/4″ wide.
    Steve? Who knows about Mollusks in MN?

    Fish; I have never liked the taste. And all those little bones. Used to go fishing a lot as a kid. Down in the aforementioned Silver Creek. Only caught crappies I think. (Like I would know a crappy from a sucker…)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ben there are experts on MN mollusks at the DNR. I bet they would love a chance to answer questions. Many years ago I had motor trouble with my boat while fishing the Mississippi and I washed up at some little cottage along the river needing help. There I met a fascinating man named Mike Davis. Thirty years later I ran into Mike again when I was walking in the Minnehaha Falls dog park along the river. Mike was then leading a team of DNR workers trying to restore the Higgins eye mussel in the Mississippi. You could ask for him. Mike’s friendly and I’m sure he would like to address your questions.

      Crappies and suckers are easy. Crappies are flat (like sunfish) and have high contrast black/white scales. Suckers are cigar-shaped with smooth silver-colored skin. And guess what? They have big sucker mouths!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I like going fishing and hope to do it again someday.

    Won’t take a pole and my tackle box will be full of quilting supplies.

    Fishing pushed the s&h into full vegetarian. He still goes with a cousin in Iowa as he likes standing by the pond. Don’t know if he gets away with not baiting the hook.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reading about Impressionist painters in my art class this week.
    So of course I had to post Pop Wagner and the Impressionist Two-step…

    The teacher was not familiar with it but she appreciated it. No one else in the class has commented yet.
    I really want to post ‘Truck Load of Art’, but that one isn’t so complimentary towards the art…

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I ate several times in two wonderful seafood restaurants. The Shellfish Restaurant outside of Savannah. Nothing is fried, as the motel clerk told us in disgust when I asked about it. Hole in the middle of the table with a garbage can under it. Lenny and Joe’s Fishtail restaurant in Old Seybrook CT. Shacky sort of place in appearance but the average income level of the dinners was I am sure very high.

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  20. There was a wonderful, funky little Crab Cottage near Half Moon Bay, CA, when I lived there. I’d go there in a minute, but would have to time travel.

    I’d also like to return to Skates (on the Bay) Restaurant in Berkeley, CA, and one in coastal France that I can’t remember the name of.

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