The Zen of Fishing

Over the weekend, I took my 2 sons to Ocean City, New Jersey for a trip called Fishing for Kids. No, I wasn’t fishing for more kids. I have more than I can handle now, thanksabunch. 🙂

It’s organized by the Ocean City Yacht Club and it gives special needs and disadvantaged kids a chance to get out on the water and experience the joy of fishing. My youngest has autism so I heard about it through Variety Club, and when the notices went out, I signed up.

Mind you, I was a little hesitent at first. I’d only just taken the boys on a plane ride in April and that went well enough, but four hours in a boat? With fish? And worms? And no electronics? How ever would two modern teenage boys survive?

Mostly well, actually.

The boat had no name and it was small, but it held up well under the weight of these two and me. 🙂 So did the Captain, Roger, and his son Josh. They were awesome! Josh is a great kid, and Roger was kind and patient with landlubbers like us.

The boys both caught flounders but we opted to give them time to grow up a little more. (They were under the legal size.) I caught one as well, but it took my line rather than let me meet it face to fish.

Eventually we caught two that were big enough to keep. I had a few misgivings about eating something that, just minutes ago, was swimming along, happy as a clam (pardon the pun). I won’t lie, it was difficult to stand there watching them die. It reminded me why I became a vegetarian. Well, that and the heartburn thing.

Roger did a beautiful job fileting them. He pointed out that there’s nothing quite like truly fresh fish. He said even if you bought fish in a shop, the best you’d get would be two day old fish; one day in a dirty hold, and another day getting to the store and being put on display.  What we had was truly fresh.

We took home at least two pounds (8 luscious filets) of flounder after a wonderful buffet at the Yacht Club. I prepared the frying pan with olive oil and seasoning, lit two candles (one for each fish), and said “thank you” a number of times.

When they were cooked and ready, I poured a glass of wine, toasted to the fish, said “thank you” again, and we sat down to dinner. Unfortunately the pic I took of them in the pan didn’t come out so well, but this is the leftovers, aka tonight’s dinner, along with sauteed spinach.

It was awesome. 🙂 But the whole experience was awesome, and not only am I looking forward to doing it again, but Roger offered to take us out on the water whenever we want. I can’t wait!!

Thank you, Roger, and thank you, flounders!


6 thoughts on “The Zen of Fishing

  1. I used to go lake fishing a lot when I was kid, but I found it kinda boring. I think now I would love it – sitting on a dock with my feet dangling in the water with nothing but the sun and sand for company? Bring it on.

    But if I had to gut and clean my own fish? No, thanks.

    I’m glad you had fun, Carla and Company!

    • I have to admit, Roger made it look easy. I was also surprised to see that ALL a flounder’s innards are right there by the head; the rest is all muscle (meat). Now that I’ve seen it done, I might be able to do it myself…if it was a matter of survival or not. I’m still a vegetarian and a pacifist. 🙂

      But yes, it was delicious, and it even made a convert out of Ryan, the former if-it’s-not-chicken-it’s-not-for-me guy. Also, he refused to try chocolate-covered bacon, which one of the fudge stores advertised. Alex gobbled his up, and I may just have to taste this delicacy for myself. 🙂

      • There really is nothing like fresh fish! My dad used to take me fishing when I was growing up and when I lived in the Tampa, I went constantly on the many secluded islands. It’s like how fresh eggs and fresh meat just tastes so different from store bought.

        Even though I do admit, fishing is kinda boring, it’s great when you just want to be alone (even though I would never do it down here in Southeast Florida, it’s too dangerous) and enjoy the quiet beauty of nature. Sometimes, dad and I never caught anything but it was just reveling in nature that made it spectacular.

        What a wonderful way to bond with your teens! I hope you get many more chances to enjoy something else like this!

  2. What a wonderful experience and a day you’ll never forget! I’ve always had issues with fish. Never liked it and never ate it…until recently. I just couldn’t get past the smell, but I’ve always loved to fish. Wouldn’t touch the bait or the fish, but casting out and reeling in is one of the most relaxing things to do.

    A few years ago we were eating at Bonefish Grill and my husband ordered Parmesan-encrusted talapia. He insisted I taste it and I fell in love. I tried making it at home, but it didn’t come out as good as the restaurant’s. I’m still not a fan of just any fish, though, but at least I’m trying. 😉

    • Lis’Anne, have I got a recipe for you! I’ve made this dozens of times and it’s easy, quick, and delicious! Better yet, you can use it on chicken breast too!

      Yeah, I’m not sure I’m ready to bait a hook yet, myself, but I saw how Roger and Josh did it and it’s do-able. I just need to stop empathizing with the minnows. At one point Ryan noticed his was still flopping around on the hook (after we’d pulled up the lines and moved the boat), and Josh said, “Yeah, they’re good. They hang on for a while.” I whimpered because I knew they hang on because they want to live. *sigh*

      Next time we go fishing, I need to leave my sense of empathy on the shore, but I will do it because we had SUCH a great time and you’re right, we made memories and friends that day. 🙂 I can even say I think Ocean City is my favorite shore town of all time.

  3. I love to fish. But I cannot bait a hook, and I sure as heck won’t clean a fish! Or be there when it’s cleaned!

    Good for you, having that great time with the guys 🙂 Your’e right that there’s nothing like fresh fish…

    Also? WOO for the tilapia recipe!

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