by Robin Benzle
I grew up in a household where the boys got to go fishing and the girls got to bake cookies, so recently, when the opportunity arose to go fishing for the very first time with a group of hard-core fisherwomen from Avon Lake, Ohio - I jumped on it like a cat on a bug.
"Come by around noon," Captain Linda instructed, "and don't wear heels."
In a Boston Whaler equipped with an inflatable musical toilet, we headed out about a mile offshore into Lake Erie, the sun sparkling on the water like tin foil. Already, I loved the feeling of leaving the telephone, the computer and all that dirty laundry back on shore. Suddenly, I noticed they had already caught a bucket full of small fish.
"That's the bait," Linda said, probably wondering why I bothered with mascara. "Now, take this hook and thread it through the eyes."
"Sure thing," I said, trying to act really cool even though I wanted to take all the minnows home and raise them as my own.
We all threw our lines in the water, fixed our gaze on that bobber thing, and waited for the first tug. I hit first - dramatically landing a two-foot, well eighteen-inch, well nice sized perch - and felt as if I had just won the lottery. We whiled away the rest of the day catching lots more fish, telling dirty jokes and reliving scenes from JAWS. That night, when I fried up my fresh catch of the day, I don't think anything ever tasted more delicious.
(By the way, I do believe it is Lake Eric Law that the only way to cook lake perch is to dip it in egg, coat it in seasoned breadcrumbs, fry it in peanut oil, and dress it with a squirt of fresh lemon.)
The second time I went fishing was last week, in the South Pacific. Wearing nothing more than a loin cloth clinging to my tanned body and a harpoon clenched between my snow-white teeth, I dove off the side of Johnny Depp's boat and returned in less than an hour with a shark under one arm (boy did he put up a fight) and a salmon under the other. I also caught a giant squid but threw him back because I just wasn't in the mood for calamari. That evening, we enjoyed a wonderful candlelit dinner under the stars and frankly, I can't wait till the next time I go fishing.