The problem has plagued male and female relationships since the invention of the first fishing rod.
Women second to a fish. Men married to their boat.
Can the two co-exist, a marriage and a hardcore fisherman?
Nowadays, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the woman who was married to the water, and the man at home getting the grease hot in the fryer.
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But in general, we’re talking about the kind of married man who is on the water at 6 in the morning and off sometime in the afternoon, when the tide has gone slack, along with the bite.
Today, Capt. “Doc” Lee, a fly-fishing guide out of Lake Evers, and his wife Darlene, are celebrating their 30-year anniversary.
Congrats to the Manatee County couple, because not only have they managed three decades of bliss instead of the typical three months, they’ve done so despite Doc.
Doc is a friend of mine, so I take liberty in saying that he is a bona fide fishing nut. Give the guy a teddy bear and he’ll split it open and use the fuzz for fishing hair. Give him a 5-acre pond and one fish, and I swear, he’ll find the loner.
Doc puts in 12 to 15 hours of fishing a day. Yes, it’s safe to say he’s also married to the rusty waters of Lake Evers.
“Fishing is important, but there are other things that are more important,” Lee said. “You don’t make fishing your life.”
That said, I believe that relationships work when a man has a purpose in his life beside his partner. A purpose that is his calling, his path.
A man or woman being the reason for another’s happiness is too much of a burden to handle.
Darlene wrote an article in 1981 for a local publication called “The Other Side of the Coin.” In that article, she admitted “I didn’t like the idea of running a close second to a bass or a trout, let alone a channel cat!”
So she joined in. She made the effort to become interested in fishing, and not only has she become a solid fisherwoman almost 30 years later, she can fillet her own fish.
A wife of a fisherman.
So it is possible.
Here’s a tip: Don’t give your wife the anniversary gift of a new Shimano BaitRunner spinning reel and a can of WD-40. (“But, honey, you should see the bites you get when you spray a little of that ‘40’ on a popping bug!”)
Just so happens, in Doc’s Bass Pro Shops calendar, today’s saying is “If I die, I hope my wife doesn’t sell my fishing tackle for what I told her I paid for it.”
Wise words, men.
Honesty is underrated, even for fishermen, the most lying bunch of tall-tale tellers I’ve ever met.
But fisher-marriage can work. Need proof?
Happy 30th anniversary to Doc, Darlene and the fish.
Nick Walter, Herald staff writer, can be reached at 745-7013.