Dear Fish Diary:

I have to be honest; some guys really don’t want their girlfriends or spouses to take up fishing. I’m serious. I know it sounds a bit out there, but it’s true. Their excuses run the gauntlet of typical relationship rhetoric. Oh, this is a man’s sport, or this is my “guy time” with my friends. Those are just two of the frequently used excuses, and frankly, I don’t understand either one of them.

First off, fishing isn’t really a “guy thing” anymore because things have changed. That “guy thing” view must have come from some ancient civilization petroglyphs carved in a cave depicting men fishing and women cooking. You know, back when fish had teeth like crocodiles. Back when heavy spears with chiseled rocks were the blades that had to penetrate those Jurassic fish. Back when half the fishermen were eaten by the fish they pursed.

That old saying, “A woman’s place is in the home,” most likely started back then because some caring caveman didn’t want his wife roaming around outside to get eaten by a fish or picked up by a hungry pterodactyl or swallowed by a T-Rex. I totally get that. But things have changed. The dinosaurs are gone, fishing gear has made vast improvements since the arrowhead days, and believe it or not, there are women who not only love to fish but also out-fish the guys.

Relationships are partnerships. If I want guy time with my friends, I certainly don’t want it in the romantic setting of the great outdoors. Peacefully drifting across a picturesque lake, casting into the abyss with my buddies just isn’t my thing. Besides, who is more likely to give up all your fishing secrets, your so-called friends or your wife or girlfriend. That should be an easy question to answer. How often have you shown up to your favorite fishing spot and seen your wife there in a boat with her girlfriends catching your fish? Like never.

Here is another secret you might not have thought through while exiling your spouse from your fishing outings, your creel limit just doubled, and you can legally keep twice as many fish. You’re welcome.

When Patricia Wilson of Stanton wrote to me with her story, I realized that she is married to a man who gets it. Patricia wasn’t raised with an outdoor background, and she didn’t get exposed to fishing until her husband Howard began to try to pique her interest.

In the beginning, things weren’t going so well. She just wasn’t catching any fish. Oh sure, she’d try, but after a short stint of getting skunked, the rod would go down, and she’d grab a book and start reading. I can understand how this might have frustrated Howard a little, as I’m sure he really wanted her to embrace the fishing culture he loved so much.

All of that would change one day while the couple was fishing at Hardy Dam with Howard’s dad, Ken. Ken hooked into a 10-pound carp, and the battle got Patricia’s attention. After the excitement of finally landing the fish, it was placed on a stringer, and it was back to fishing. After a while, Patricia’s interest faded and down went her rod and up came her book. After all, as she described, everyone around her was catching fish but her. That’s when Howard got a brilliant idea.

Somehow, while Patricia’s attention was focused on the pages of her book, he snagged her line, reeled it in, hooked Ken’s carp on and let the fish go. Suddenly it was fish-on for Patricia, and the moment she’d been waiting for began. She threw down her book and picked up her rod. After a hefty battle, she landed the fish to the cheers of Howard and Ken.

Her first comment was, “This fish looks just like dad’s.” The men laughed and convinced her that Ken’s fish was a carp and hers was a world-class trophy walleye. She didn’t know any better, she didn’t know the difference between a bluegill and a perch, and she certainly wasn’t going to question two veterans about the giant walleye she just landed.

Many who were fishing saw the event unfold, so when the trio returned to shore, there was a crowd gathered to see her catch. She proudly explained to them that her trophy walleye could indeed be the catch of a lifetime. Nobody said any different. You and I know that they were laughing behind her back, though.

It wasn’t until the couple was driving home that Howard confessed. That confession nearly caused a traffic accident as Patricia described her initial acceptance of the scam as not being very receptive. I can totally vision this. “I just didn’t take being fooled and embarrassed very well,” she wrote.

Who can blame her?

The good news is it all ended well. This story took place over 50 years ago which means their marriage survived Howard’s shameful act.

Patricia knows the difference between a bluegill and a perch and for sure knows the difference between a carp and a walleye. She knows how to cook fish and can tell you what kind of fish she is cooking.

Oh sure, sometimes she still sets the rod down and picks up some reading material, but now her reading material isn’t a book, it’s Woods-N-Water News magazine, and specifically, Dear Fish Diary, my column… Ah geeeeze, thanks, Howard…

Funny fish stories wanted: Strangest thing you’ve ever caught…

Send me a short description of your “best or worst” fishing day, or worst fishing-related adventure, or strangest thing you’ve caught. You don’t have to write the entire story, just a brief outline of what happened. If it has some humor to it, I’ll be getting in touch with you, and we’ll work on the completed story together.

Contact – Woods-N-Water News columnist Ron St. Germain by calling 517-626-2814, e-mailing Visit the author’s Facebook page