|Fresh dinner tonight. Holy mackerel!|
Our son has always been the fisherman of the family. Whenever we camp, we stop at local visitor information centers. While I gather brochures for things to do in the area and my husband asks about road conditions, our son marches right up to the clerk to ask about fishing. He would collect oodles of fishing brochures by the time he returned to the van.
We were in Nova Scotia this time. Our son’s a morning person as I am, and we’d walk down to the dock on the bay to watch fishermen cast their lines. Fishermen love to share knowledge, and our son learned lots.
“Mackerel’s running now,” he told the rest of the family at breakfast.
The twins, his best fishing buddies, listened intently. The older girls yawned, and his father cringed and glared at me like it’s my fault his son likes to fish. He was probably reliving previous fishing trips when he had to fillet the fish because our son was too young to handle the knife.
“Did you ever catch a mackerel before?” I asked our son.
“Nope.” He continued to eat breakfast.
My husband squirmed in his seat.
“The man says mackerels like red,” our son told everyone.
“Red what?” His oldest sister asked.
“Do you have a red lure in your fishing box?” Dad asked with hope in his eyes.
“No.” He got up to rinse his cereal bowl and spoon.
His father smiled at me, thinking he was off the hook. But I knew better.
“But you can use anything,” our son added.
Immediately I started looking around the camper for something red, avoiding my husband’s eyes.
“They’ll be running again at 4 p.m.”
“First we explore Peggy’s Cove,” I reminded my fisherman. Purposely, I didn’t look at my husband.
“But we’ll be back by 4,” our son said. “Right, Mom?”
I had my head stuck in a cupboard by this time, searching for something small and red. I sighed. It’s going to be a long afternoon.
We headed for Peggy’s Cove only after I had received approval from our fisherman for the use of three red bread twisters as lures.
Just as I had suspected; instead of hearing the crash of waves or the call of sea birds, all we heard that afternoon was a barrage of “Is it 4:00 yets.”
By the time we returned to camp—yes, by 4 p.m.—our son had talked the twins and Dad into accompanying him on his fishing exhibition.
Well his mentor was correct. The mackerel were indeed “running.” But so were the mosquitoes. The boy couldn’t swat and bait and unhook the lines fast enough. He and his sisters snagged slippery, silvery, squirmy fish out of the water each time they cast their lines. They returned to camp in a cloud of mosquitoes.
I searched the camper for something to coat fish in, and choose corn flakes to crush. I also grabbed the bottle of calamine lotion to coat the fishing crew.
“His mentor’s advice about a red lure worked too well,” my husband complained handing me little chunks of mackerel in a pot while he scratched. “I finally told the kids we had enough. I’m going to shower before dinner,” he grumbled and took the bottle of calamine as he left the camper.
Our three fisherpeople, faces lit with triumph and bug bites, chorused, “There were schooools of mackerel, Mom.”
That night, we thanked God and our fisherpeople for a delicious fresh meal, and Dad for filleting the fish in a swarm of mosquitoes.
Family camping trips should afford any budding fisherperson an opportunity to learn new ways to catch fish and to practice. This can be a delicious hobby when camping. Even better, my husband adds, if the fisherpeople clean their own fish.