Filings: The Catch of a Lifetime

The Minnesota Fishing Opener is this Sunday, and Mother’s Day was last Sunday, which is a nice change from some recent years when these events have fallen on the same weekend. It has allowed me, however, to see some similarities between being a good fisherman and being a good husband – and I think I may have some pointers to share from my own experience with “the one that didn’t get away” on how to have a trophy wife.

First, let me say that the things I don’t know about fishing would fill a hundred books, judging by what I see in my library and at the outfitting stores. You can add several years worth of In-Fisherman magazines to that total as well, and do I have to mention all those television shows? I’m amazed at what you have to know if you expect to hook anything besides the meaty part of your thumb! Likewise maintaining a happy marriage can appear overwhelming at times. I know I’ve been skunked in both areas at times, but one thing I’ve realized is that experts gain their knowledge by fervently pursuing the sport they love. With that approach, becoming an expert is fun.

That applies to fishing and marriage. I love my wife and I love being married. Therefore in the 17 and a half years we’ve been married I’ve avidly sought out and collected many important bits of information about her in particular and marriage in general that have helped us become each other’s favorite pastime. Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

CATCH AND RELEASE? First off, I’m not a big proponent of catch and release when it comes to marriage. I have found, however, that there is a lot of challenge and a lot of thrills in catching the same fish over and over again! I’ve found that the secret to this is not just to be married, but to be engaged!

THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT: The expert fishermen are always sharing information on what type of bait and what type of tackle to use for different conditions. They can tell you what to use on cloudy days, windy days, sunny days and days when the fish aren’t hungry. They know what’s best for trolling, jigging and casting and the preferred food of every species. I’ve wondered, though, how many of those guys know their wife’s shoe size, or if she’s an autumn, summer, spring or winter in her coloring? Early on I memorized my wife’s sizes, favorite colors and preferred styles of clothing. Today, much of what she wears are things I’ve bought her either shopping on my own or when we’re together. Now, I don’t think a fish was ever caught because it was honored or flattered that someone had spent so much time and effort to learn about it, but it’s sure made an impression on my wife!

LURES: When you think of lures you might think small, shiny objects or furry things work best but the real “power bait” is our words. Men are attracted by what they see (I know I’ve bought certain fishing lures because they looked good to me, never mind the fish) but women are moved by what they hear. Our words build our wives up and make them feel special and make our relationships special. I try to make sure my wife hears how much she means to me, how much I value her opinion – and how much I like the way she looks in those jeans. Certainly relying on my good looks to win my wife would be like me fishing for muskies with 4-pound test line. I’ve got to work those lures, paying attention to the conditions and water temperature. Oh, and I try to stay away from the crankbaits.

STRUCTURE: The experts I read are always talking about “structure” or “knowing the bottom” (but I’m not going there).

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