When the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation invited me to go fishing on the Niagara River this past week, I was apprehensive. And by “apprehensive” I mean, “You want me to do WHAT NOW?”
It’s not that I’d never fished before.
In fact, I’d fished a lot as a kid.
But fishing was one of those things I did, for the most part, against my will.
That’s what happens when you grow up on a farm – you do a lot of stuff against your will. Like, say, learning how to milk goats. Or collecting eggs even though chickens are vindictive jerks and will totally try to peck your hands off.
I would usually only fish when I had friends over. You see, most of my friends were from the suburbs. They didn’t have ponds in their backyards like I did. So for them fishing was something different – exotic even.
I understood their fascination.
I felt the same way when I’d go to their houses in the suburbs and get to experience things we didn’t have out in the country – like, you know, sidewalks. (“You mean there’s this little road just for people to walk on? And you’re saying I don’t have to worry about being run over by a tractor? TELL ME MORE!”)Even though I understood why my friends would want to go fishing, I still never wanted to go fishing.
Instead, I would present them with a list of alternative activities – activities that were infinitely better than fishing in my mind.
For example, we could climb on barn roofs! While holding poultry! Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Or, we could play another one of my favorite games: Lock Someone in the Chicken Barn Until They’re Forced to Climb Out of the Teeny-Tiny Chicken Door or Until We All Get in Trouble.
And when my friends still insisted on going fishing, I’d pull out the big guns: dressing up baby goats in doll clothes. I mean, come on, you guys. GOATS IN DOLL CLOTHES? Talk about an instantly fun time!
My friends would invariably still insist on going fishing, and I’d begrudgingly agree. After all, I didn’t want them to get mad and stop being friends with me. I still wanted to be invited over to their houses in the suburbs. I mean, how else was I going to get my sidewalk fix?
The reason why I hated fishing so much had nothing to do with the squirmy worms or flapping fish. I could handle a worm or take a fish off a hook with the best of them. In fact, I considered those parts the fun parts – at least there was a little bit of action involved.My problem with fishing was the waiting.
I hated standing on the banks of the pond waiting for something – anything – to bite. The minutes standing there felt like hours to me – hours I could be using to do something productive. Like, say, tying baby bonnets on goat heads. I mean, SERIOUSLY.
So, given my less than enthusiastic childhood experience with fishing, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t enjoy my Niagara River fishing trip this week.
You see, I have not become any more patient with age. I still hate to wait for things.
I didn’t want to be stuck on a boat, waiting for fish to bite and wondering when the heck I could get off the boat and be able to do something productive – like, you know, watching Youtube videos of swimming pigs. (Yes, I realize my definition of productivity is a bit skewed. But SWIMMING PIGS, YOU GUYS!)Luckily, I discovered fishing on the Niagara River is infinitely better than I could have ever imagined.
It was definitely much better than fishing in a little backyard pond.
It’s possible it was even better than dressing up goats in doll clothes. But that could be just the endorphins talking.
First of all, before I could even go fishing this past week, I had to get my one-day fishing license. And I think we can all agree that if an activity requires a license, it automatically becomes a lot more dangerous and awesome.
Mind you, the license was super easy to get – all it took was five dollars and a trip to the Walmart. But I still felt like a total bad ass walking around with a fishing license in my wallet. Like, “Oh, what’s this? Just my LICENSE TO FISH. That’s right. Fish better be watching their backs because I’m legal.”
Secondly, all the fishing took place on a super fast boat. And every time I’m on a super fast boat, I can’t help feeling like I’m in some kind of James Bond movie.
Plus, it helped that it was a gorgeous day to be on a gorgeous river surrounded by some gorgeous scenery.But, the best and the most surprising part about the fishing trip was the fact that I actually, well, liked fishing.
Probably because I actually caught some fish – a lot of fish, in fact. And not just a bunch of puny little bluegills like we used to catch in our pond.
First, there was this big-mouthed bass.
And then I caught two big huge trout.
I caught six fish in total, but three of them got away before I could reel them in. Probably because they were HUGE RIVER MONSTERS WITH FANGS THE SIZE OF BANANAS. So it’s all for the best that I wasn’t able to get them into the boat. I wouldn’t have wanted to get anyone hurt, you know.As much as I would like to chalk up my surprising fishing success to some latent secret skill I never thought I had, I suspect it all had to do with our amazing guide, Captain Frank Campbell, of Niagara Region Charter Service.
After twenty years of working as a guide on the Niagara River, this man knows his fish.
Not only did he know exactly where to go to catch fish, he also knew exactly when we had fish on our lines versus when our lines had just snagged on the bottom of the river — even though it all kind of felt like the same thing to me. It was uncanny really. It’s like the guy has some kind of weird fishing sixth sense.
Plus, even better, he did all the hard stuff for us – like driving the boat and tying the lures and catching the fish in the net once we’d reeled them in. You know, all the stuff that probably would have resulted with me floating in the river if I’d attempted to do it myself.
And, well, he turned this reluctant fisher-woman into a total trout-catching pro. So it’s pretty much a given that he’s some kind of miracle-worker.Have you ever gone fishing? Do you love it, like it or only tolerate it because you want to be invited to your friend’s house so you can see her sidewalk? P.S. I’d like to thank Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation for arranging my trip, and Captain Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charter Service for being the awesomest fishing guide ever. I’m telling you, the man’s a fish-magician.
P.P.S. Check out this post on the Niagara USA blog for more information on the trip and to find out how you can book your own.