Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day Two with Janet Spaeth

Old man and the seaphoto © 2006 Chad Routh | more info (via: Wylio)
Fishing plays a major role in both Sunshine and Kind-Hearted Woman. And here's how much I know about fishing:

Yup. Nothing.

Fortunately, with Kind-Hearted Woman, I was able to build the fishing part around what I remember from fishing with my grandpa. Now, I have to tell you that I never caught a fish, ever, but that didn't stop me from loving that time with him. I can still remember the sun-kissed smell of his work shirt, the soft fishy smell of the tackle box, and the gentle cooing of the mourning doves in the far distance.

My job was to wad up bread into bait. It was, he told me, an important job, and I took it very seriously, tasting the bread balls occasionally to make sure they were as good as they looked. They were.

For Sunshine, I needed more up-to-date information, so I ended up wandering through a sporting goods store, looking at the lures.

I was dazzled.

The lures looked like high-fashion jewelry. The colors! The glitter! The shine! Some moved. Some didn't. Some were shaped like worms, others like little fish. Orange. Pink. Green. Silver.

No bread-ball bait here.

A sales guy came over. Could he help?

Well, sure, I said. I need to know about lures. Like, ooh, this one! It was a metallic neon orange thing with plastic strings coming off it.

He asked what kind of fish I was trying to catch.

What kind of fish? What did that have to do with anything? Apparently it mattered.

Local fish. In a river. Would this lure work?

It turned out that the lure I was holding was for spotted one-gill game fish from the Amazonian rain forest. Not really, but I discovered that this was not something I could learn on the floor of Reed's Sporting Goods. Fishing was serious business.

So I asked a friend who fished, and he guided me through the rough waters of writing about fishing, answering every question I had about lures. I'm sure I made some mis-steps in writing, but remember, this writer was once a little girl, fishing with bread-ball bait with her grandpa, and who only caught memories.

Do you have any fishing memories?


  1. So many wonderful memories! Fishing with my Dad in a boat, along a river or on the rocky jetty curving out into the ocean. He always had Chick-lettes Gum in his tackle box, a sure way to win a little girl's heart!

  2. Fishing with my dad, catching blue gill and sunnies and walleye.

    Thank you for reminding me!