I was fishing on the weekend with another angler when a heavy wind blew our canoe towards a dock, where a woman was reading a book and enjoying the day.
We said hello and then I began to paddle away in order to give her some space. But, to her credit, she was gracious and told us that she didn’t mind us fishing where we were. And then she said something that made me think her husband was perhaps the luckiest man in the world.
She said, “You know, my husband caught a 6-pound smallmouth bass and a 9-and-a-half-pound brook trout here this year.”
I looked at her and then I turned to the fellow I was fishing with and whispered, “Wow, did you hear that?”
“Yes,” he smiled.
And then we both agreed. We had just talked to the best partner any angler could ever ask for.
How else would you describe a woman who repeats what their angling spouse says about the size of the fish he caught, without for a moment doubting the veracity of the claim? And, as if that were not enough, she also conveyed genuine pride in his angling accomplishments and was quite willing to brag about them to any person passing by.
The only thing that could have made her more perfect was if she had said, “He’s out now with money I gave him to buy more fishing tackle and a new boat.”
I won’t lie. If I weren’t so happily partnered up myself, I would have asked her if she had a sister who was single.
An angler doesn’t meet a partner like that every day.
I know my partner loves me, but, if I were to tell her that I caught a 9-and-a-half-pound brook trout, she’d wash my mouth out with soap. And then she would probably give me a new fishing scale and a pair of reading glasses on my next birthday. But not that woman. She just naturally assumed – despite the fact that her husband was an angler – that he was being accurate about the size of the fish he caught.
I hope he realizes how lucky he is.
I once knew a female angler whose partner came close to being perfect. I remember she told us that she caught a 24-inch brook trout in fast water on a size 20 dry fly and two-pound tippet and he backed her up by keeping a straight face and then quickly walking away. And I have also heard stories of a wife who casually uttered that her husband could cast a full fly line, God bless her.
But, of course, these things are not the norm.
Most of us have partners who, for some reason, do not believe the laws of angling weight and measurement apply to them. Instead, they want to call a one-pound fish a one-pound fish. Sadly, the only known cure for that is to actually get them to become anglers too. Which would be fine if you weren’t also obliged to show them your best fishing spots.
Anyhow, the point is it is rare to find a partner who is so supportive of your fishing abilities. So, when you do, you need to appreciate it.
After all, a partner like that is quite a catch.