Dating or being married to a fisherman takes a special kind of person; we’re a fiercly passionate and straight-shooting breed of outdoorsmen. While some men might attend a nice Friday night cocktail hour complete with unidentifiable hors d’oeuvres at a ritzy cafe—to each their own, I guess—we’re content with eating a quick burger while we feverishly prepare our boat and fishing tackle for tommorow morning’s tournament.
If you’re already in a relationship with a fisherman, you’ll certainly relate to this. If you’re thinking about dating a fisherman, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
1. Early to bed, early to rise
A lot of people use the weekends to catch up on much needed sleep. After a long work week, sleeping in until mid-morning is something many look forward to.
Fishermen, however, are much different. We’ll start yawning when the sun goes down and we’re awake and stomping around the house long before the sun even thinks of rising. We might not quite make it all the way through that 8:00pm episode of The Real Housewives—or whatever they call that show where the ladies with big hair keep hollering at each other—but by gosh, we can sure make you a nice breakfast before we climb in our rigs and head to the lake.
The silver lining: There’s no need to worry about our whereabouts on a Friday or Saturday night. We might have a few cold ones with our fishing buddies, but we leave the nightlife antics for the other guys.
2. You find soft plastics… everywhere
It’s not uncommon to find a few stray coins or maybe a stick of chapstick in the dryer from time to time—we’ve all done it. But globs of melted plastic that stick to every possible item of clothing? Yep. Leave it to a fisherman.
I know, it seems simple. Just empty out the pockets before you put your britches in the washing machine, right? But here’s the issue with that logic: When our jeans start smelling ripe with fish slime and they finally get that good “funk” on ‘em, they’re just getting good. We’ll go a while without washing our fishing pants, so it’s easy to forget about the lint-covered plastic lizard we stuffed in our pockets 10 days ago.
The silver lining: I’m not quite sure on this one, to be honest. Based on previous experience, it’s probably best to just say, “Sorry, babe. I’ll do better and you’re beautiful.” It works… sometimes.
3. His back rubs feel a bit like torture
Fishermen come in all kinds of sizes; short, tall, skinny, round, husky, pleasantly plump, large-and-in-charge, beanpole—the list could go on forever. Although we might not look like we came off the set of Baywatch, we do have one claim to fame: Our hands are pretty darn strong.
Unfortunately for our lovely wives and girlfriends, these strong hands come with some pretty gnarly callouses. It feels and looks like we’ve been playing catch with cinder blocks and broken glass—especially when the fishing is good. We wear ‘em like a badge of honor.
So if our back rubs feel like a mix between a Vise-Grip and 100 grit sandpaper, it’s not because we’re not trying. We want to be sweet, but back rubs aren’t always the best option. And no, we won’t try your gingerbread-scented hand lotion—it’s hard to tie a good Snell knot with greasy hands.
The silver lining: We view jar lids as an ultimate contest of brute strength and masculinity. The next time you’re unable to open a jar, ask a fisherman. We may not be able to bench press 500 pounds, but defeating the pickle jar is a close second.
4. He actually enjoys smelling like fish
Women are great at giving not-so-subtle hints throughout the year. Our stockings are stuffed with special fish scent-eliminating soap bars and our birthdays aren’t complete without receiving at least one bottle of ridiculously expensive cologne that smells like cat urine and diesel fuel. We get it—you don’t like the fish smell. Point taken.
That fish smell, however, is the sign of success. It means our hours of map study, tackle rigging, hook changing and casting have paid off. Show me a fisherman who hasn’t taken a few deep, hearty wiffs of his hands after an all-day bass beatdown and I’ll show you a liar. We might even delay taking a shower at night because it smells that freakin’ good. When you turn the other way, we quietly sniff our hands again. It’s the sweet nectar of triumph and it makes our insides tremble with elation. Yes, it’s weird. But at least we own it.
The silver lining: When we come home reeking of the day’s catch, ask us anything you want to and we’ll probably agree to it. We just had an awesome day on the water and we’re in one heck of a good mood.
5. He has year-round coon eyes
Much like the aforementioned calloused hands, “coon eyes” are also a major badge of honor for a fisherman. In our simple minds, those permanent tan lines represent the hours and days we’ve invested perfecting our craft. In a woman’s mind—and rightfully so—they represent the need for more sunscreen and an education on skincare.
Coon eyes also serve as an easy identifier when we’re stuck behind enemy lines at your company’s Christmas party or your best friend’s baby shower. When we see another dude with coon eyes, we know he’s an outdoorsman and a potential ally. So while our coon eyes might not look too hot when you make us take cutesy “couples photos” on railroad tracks, in wildflower fields and in the backs of old, rusty pickup trucks, they actually have a lot of practical uses.
The silver lining: Because we always wear sunglasses, we (hopefully) won’t have funky-looking cataracts when we’re old men.
6. “Can we take your car? My boat’s hooked up.”
Let’s paint a quick picture: We’ve been fishing all day and the bass were absolutely gagging on our favorite lure. We’re planning on going again in the morning because, well, they’re biting. What’s the point of unhooking our rig if we’re heading back out before daylight? It’s like eating dinner before you go to Golden Corral. It just doesn’t make sense.
What does make sense, however, is taking your car to run a few late-night errands. We’ll drive—that’s not a problem at all. But we’d love to save a few minutes in the morning by leaving our war wagon hooked up in the driveway.
The silver lining: The savvy fisherman will show his appreciation by periodically washing your car, filling it up with gas and changing the oil. Maybe even run by the friendly neighborhood Dairy Queen for a surprise Blizzard. Take notes, guys.
7. You can back a trailer with the best of ‘em
If you’re in the “honeymoon stage” of a new relationship, your fisherman probably launches the boat by himself when you go to the lake together. If you want to kick things up a notch and take the relationship to a whole new level, it’s a good idea to learn how to back a trailer. It’s the ultimate way to an angler’s heart.
The silver lining: You’ll make all the other couples jealous at the boat ramp. They’ll think Bonnie and Clyde just pulled up to the joint.
8. He notices your nail colors
We’re hardwired to notice small color changes in our environment. We’re constantly tuned in to water clarity, crawfish hues, forage color or flake color in soft plastic baits when we’re on the water. Naturally, this habit often spills over into our love lives. If you paint your nails a different color, we’ll know within the first few seconds of seeing you.
When we notice your nail colors, you can fully expect us to do one of two things: Compare them to our favorite worm color (Merthiolate, red shad, emerald shiner, etc.) or comment on how or why we could catch a bass with that particular color.
The silver lining: Because we’ve developed such a keen eye for color, you won’t get that “I don’t know” garbage when you’re asking our opinion on an important nail color decision. We’ll set you up with the best-looking colors and who knows—it might give us an idea for a new crankbait color.
9. You never worry about where we are
All kidding aside, trust is an important aspect of any relationship. You don’t want us messing around on you and we don’t want you messing around on us. It’s common courtesy that, unfortunately, a lot of today’s society is severely lacking.
You will never have to worry about where we are or what we’re doing. There are basically three options for a fisherman: We’re working, we’re fishing or we’re spending time with you. Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t have time for that bar hopping stuff. We’d rather wake up early than sleep the day away with a hangover. Moreover, we’re fiercely loyal to both our outdoor endeavors and our significant others.
The silver lining: We’re not going anywhere—except to the lake.
10. You get to see the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets
Fishermen aren’t all grit. Believe it or not, we can actually be pretty darn romantic when the mood strikes. I mean, is there a better way to show a woman you love her than to watch a beautiful sunset together? Everyone loves a sunset.
We like to act tough around our fishing buddies, but we’ll jump at the opportunity to slow the boat down to a mere idle on the way back to the marina, turn on some country music and put our left arm around you. You put up with a lot of crap from us and we want to show you how much we appreciate you. It’s the right thing to do.
The silver lining: We definitely have our faults, but everything is “right” in our world when we’re idling into the marina with our arm around the woman we love. I think I speak for all the guys reading this when I say “thank you”. Thank you for being such a patient, supportive and wonderful addition to our lives.