A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend with my family at the cabin in the woods. It was a wet and gloomy weekend, which was perfect for me because I'm a freak of nature and love that kind of weather, but didn't bode well for all the work we had to do outside to close up the cabin for the winter.
No matter, Pinky decided to brave the foggy, misty weather and headed down to the dock with his fishing pole. The pleasure found in hunting down and killing an animal is lost on me, and fishing is no different. However, escaping a very tiny cabin filled with seven people and rhythmically casting and reeling a line seems like it could be a rather calming and meditative activity. That aside, the fisherpeople in my family don't normally fish to meditate, they fish to catch fish. I guess it's a man versus nature thing.
Pinky had been down at the lake casting and reeling for a little while when my mom heard his voice calling "Fojo! Come here Fojo!" She told Fojo his dad was calling for him and before too long we all knew Pinky needed help. He snagged a big one.
It was not only a big one, it was a muskie. Muskies are the most sought-after fish on our lake. They are known to eat little ducklings and nip at the toes of swimmers. It is now the rule that if you are fortunate enough to win the battle with a muskie on the end of your line you must not release it back into the lake. They're just too monstrous and damaging to all the other living things in the small body of water. So Pinky and Fojo watched as the muskie fought to get that hook out of its mouth. And Pinky worked his plan ever so carefully. He'd let the line out...then reel it in. He'd let the line out...then reel it in.
Fojo stood by with the net, patiently waiting for his dad to bring the mighty fish closer to shore. He probably even gave Pinky some pointers, as he is a passionate fisherman himself. Pinky continued to let the line out...and reel it in. Let the line out...and reel it in. Finally the fish gave its last heroic efforts at survival as it was being drawn closer and closer to shore. Fojo was ready with the net with a look of awe and excitement as he caught his first glimpse of the fish.
The rest of us on shore, very quietly anticipating a virtual monster to spring from the water, finally got to see what Pinky had been fighting with for the last twenty minutes. The tired fish was being reeled toward the water's surface.
The mighty fish gave a good fight, but Pinky was finally triumphant with Fojo's help.
When it was released from the net Fojo and his brother Paenney protested when Pinky wanted to put the fish out of its misery by means of a very heavy pipe to the head. Mount the mighty fish head they would! "Don't smash it, just let it suffocate."
Now I realize that Pinky had put in a great effort to catch a fish that is known to be difficult to catch. I also realize that it's just a fish and who cares? I'm not a PETA freak or anything but there's something in watching a living thing suffer that just makes me want to cry. The mighty fish tried so hard to get oxygen through its big gills I was nearly compelled to give it mouth to gill resuscitation. Of course that would require me to put my lips on a slimy old fish and I was not having that.
Seems my mom felt like I did about the poor suffering fish, so she decided to put her gift into action. You see, she is the Fish Whisperer. She guided the fish into the next life as it lay struggling on the ground.
Finally, the fish gave up the fight of its life. I won't get into the gruesome activity that occurred after it gasped for the last time ~ suffice it to say there is a fish head affixed to and curing on a wooden board in hopes that next summer there will be a mighty fish skull ready to mount on the walls of the cabin. (The older my nephews get the more animal parts there are hanging on the walls at that place. So much for the "charming" cottage decor.)
Congratulations to Pinky for the catch of the year. Kudos to Fojo for the quick and accurate assistance he provided. It was a good fish. It was a mighty fish. It is one less fish that will nip at my toes come swimming season.