August 20

The Life of a Fisherman’s Girlfriend


If you know me at all, I'm not much of a fish person.  I squirm at the thought of touching a worm and really only would like to see a fish seasoned and grilled with a nice lemon wedge to garnish.

This other side of fishing, I will admit, threw me for a loop.  The first time I went fishing with Ryan and wrestled in a 25-pound fish, I'm pretty sure that was my "in" in this relationship.

Not to mention when I posted the picture of me holding the fish, most of my friends (and parents) were convinced this was some sort of photoshop prank.  I remember refusing to touch the bait and of course my only job was to sit and look pretty until it was time to reel something in.  Regardless, it was fun and a great way to spend some extra time with Ryan.

I had known Ryan was in to fishing when I first met him, but it was a shock to the system as I learned the ins and outs of dating someone who loves to fish.

Here's what I've learned so far..

1. You get to take nice pictures.

DSC_0740 (1)

If you spend a lot of time with a fisherman, chances are you'll get to see some beautiful sunsets (or sunrises if you're a morning person), maybe a whale or some animal out there, a colorful fish or some nice sea glass or shells you find wandering the beach.

The picture above was taken one evening at the lake near our house when we just wanted to get out for a bit.  The evening turned out to be absolutely gorgeous and thankfully I had my camera.

Tip:  Invest in a camera.  While he's fishing you can occupy your time by snapping photos.  It's way better than just sitting there waiting for a fish.

2.  Getting hung up on.

The first time I talked to Ryan on the phone, I was mid-sentence before I realized there was no one on the other end of the line.  I was horrified!

Typical thoughts ran through my head...I was convinced I bored him to tears and he finally just hung up.  But not to worry, it's only because there was a fish on and he needed to get that darn fish set on the hook immediately if not sooner.  Lesson learned.

3.  The Bait Situation

fresh sand eels for bait on cape cod

What is worse than opening your fridge in the morning to find hundreds of little eyes staring back at you?  Nothing.

I find bait in my fridge more times than I would ever prefer and I must remind myself to not be horrified when one crawls out of the box and into the actual fridge.  More times than I'd like to count, I have transported buckets of eels and boxes of worms in my nice car too.

Once Ryan found an old shriveled up eel that died a terrible death under the front seat of his car.  It was probably there for a few months before he found it...which is horrifying.  Lesson learned?  I check the seats and my fridge frequently for strays.

4.  There's Always an Opportunity to Fish

A pretty little sunfish caught out of a little pond near our house - always an opportunity to fish!

No matter if you're hiking up a mountain far away from the sea or not, that fishing pole is going with us. There is always a very small chance that we will stumble upon some small pond or stream that might possibly have fish in it...and we are going to find out.

Want to go on a romantic kayaking adventure with a fisherman? You'll have to share his attention with the fishing pole too.

5.  Fishing Season

I understand now that planning any big event between the months of April through early November is pretty much off-limits.

That is fishing season and whether it's for stripers, tuna or nothing at all, it's fishing season.

6.  That Fish Smell

4am is not an acceptable hour to be awake for most anything - unless you're going fishing.

For those of you who are new to this:  you will probably wake up some mornings to find yourself alone.  Just shrug it off and go back to sleep, because when he returns, he will wake you up with the sweet smell of fish guts (and probably an iced coffee).

7.  Photography

The first time Ryan took me fishing - I think I was good luck that day!

Another thing I have learned? Fisherman have photos of themselves holding fish all over the house. Ryan even has a picture of just a striped bass - not even a person in the picture with him - framed, next to his bed. I was baffled.

I have figured out that by dating a fisherman, your relationship will go like this:

When a picture of you holding a fish makes it into a frame and placed somewhere visually appealing, you're in.

When a picture of you not holding a fish at all makes it into a frame and placed somewhere visually appealing...START PLANNING YOUR JANUARY WEDDING. (Side note, we are not getting married in January).

8.  When the Conversation Quickly Turns to Fishing

When out with other fishing couples, I have learned to get all the words I want in within the first 10 minutes, because after that, all hell breaks loose on the fish-talk front.

I have learned how to discuss the tides, the size of the fish, location of fish, bait used, where the wind is blowing in from, the drama that happened at the docks that morning...I could go on forever.  I just smile and nod and pretend to know what they're talking about.

9.  Appearance

In winter, his hands will be soft and smooth and well-hydrated.  By July, those babies will be battered and beaten to an inch of their life.

When you stick your hand down enough fish throats in a season, I would imagine your hands need to start toughening up...such is life as a fisherman.

10.  The Weather Channel

I have become the weather lady.

I now know the difference between a north-east versus a southwest wind and I could explain to you which one is better than the other.  When checking the weather for my own personal knowledge, I am immediately hounded with what the wind is like in some far off place.

11.  Shopping & Presents

These guys are so easy to shop for!

Rods, reels, goretex...even a bunch of fishing line will make them swoon!  Also going to Bass Pro Shops is quite fun - aquarium and shopping all at once?  I'll take it.

12.  He Will Feed You

During the height of the season, we consume a lot of fish, and that's never a bad thing.


The fresh caramelized bluefish we had last week was terrific!

Plus with prices so ridiculous per pound at the grocery store, you'd be thrilled too if your fisherman is bringing you high quality, freshly caught fish...for free!

lauren and i dinner backyard

13.  Popping a Hook, Getting Tangled...Basically Ruining Something

If you're new to the fishing thing and he takes you out, hope that he is a patient man.

I have done it all.  Just don't get embarrassed if you're like me and you try to cast a line as far as you can only for the bait to land 5 feet in front of you with a ton of loose line dangling in the wind.

14.  You can hang signs on your door like this one:


Best gift ever!

So all in all, not so bad, I just wish someone warned me first 😉

About the author 

Lauren Collins

Through the eyes of a fishermans' wife, I'm excited to share my cooking and photography with you here on MFCC. You can learn more about cooking, and get more recipes by visiting my website Creatively Delish.

  • Hi! I’ve only been dating my bf for almost a year. And I was not prepared for his job. He’s gone a lot, for hours with no service, how do I know he’s okay and not dead because his boat flipped? How do I look at the weather and know it will be fine? How do I know how long his trips are or when he will be back? I am trying to learn so much but when he goes on two day tuna fishing trips I get so worried. How do you handle the anxiety? I literally ball my eyes out what feels like every hour of the day until I know he’s back. When it’s his normal trip with his crew I never worry. I can’t even sleep or eat because of the anxiety I get from it. On top of that I have a deep rooted fear of the ocean because of a surfing accident I had. Please give me any advice you have. I’m 19, he’s 21. We plan on getting married in the future. I just need advice and such as to how you handle it.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this item. I got hooked on fishing as a young boy–my dad often took my brother and me with him. Pretty much gave up the sport during the first half of my Navy career (as a journalist), but shortly after marrying my current (second) wife, took up freshwater bass fishing. Through all my younger years as a member of various bass clubs, going on camping trips with fellow fishermen, and you-name-it, my wife has stayed with me, and given the fact I’m now 76 and she’s 73, I’m guessing it’s for good. We’re looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary in a couple years. I have to admit there were some hiccups along the way. The biggest one came back in 1976. I had Navy orders to deploy on an unaccompanied tour of duty in the Middle East Force. I had to board a flight on Sunday but insisted on fishing a bass tournament the day before. That incident nearly was the straw that broke the camel’s back. To make matters worse, I lost a 7-lb. bass at weigh-in time on Saturday, when the fish exploded out of the livewell as I was reaching for it. Long story short: I got an ultimatum that, when I returned from my year of duty overseas, I would have to make some changes in my fishing habits. I made those changes, and of course now, the normal maladies associated with old age, limit the amount of time I can spend on the water, so all is good. Incidentally, my wife never had to endure fish bait in the refrigerator–that always was a red line I knew better than to try crossing. And she only went fishing with me once–on a hot summer day in a two-piece bathing suit. Being blonde and very light complected, she ended up looking and feeling like a well-done lobster, so that was the first and only time she ever went on the water with me. In closing, here’s wishing the two of you a long, healthy and happy life–fishing or whatever. In the words of a very old tune: “May your troubles all be small ones and your fortunes 10 times 10.”

  • This made me chuckle the whole time reading. I can relate to every one of these points. We live in Houston but are at the Galveston Bay more often than I’d like. Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve learned come to love fishing as I love my husband so much.

  • Lauren I really admire ur patience and selflessness towards ur man but do U ever get irritated that u don’t ever get to choose what you all are going to do .? And that if you do want to do some thing different – he most likely( if he’s like my man ) doesn’t care – it’s all about him and nothing else . I feel like he’d rather marry a fish and he didn’t start off this way. I grew up a Tom boy always fishing w my dad but we did other things too. My boyfriend says he loves me and says he wants to get to bed at decent hour and wants to be on time to work and not lose his job and is not going to be home as late as 3 or 4 in the morning and most often I’m right on the money when I say what time I think he’ll be back. And now that I got sick on a boat 1 time cZ he asked me to turn around – I got sick to my stomach/ puked but u was a trooper! I barfed and then crashed on the helm of the boat . Not like I whined and bitched and said take me home… but now he doesn’t want to even take me deep sea fishing on a calm night cZ hes afraid I will get sick. I don’t know.
    I’d like for him to every once in a blue moon treat me like I matter more than fishing and I’d like to not feel like his servant. I work my ass off all day too and then I have to do almost everything, the cooking the cleaning – the laundry and he has the nerve to ask for me to get him a glass of tea when he’s 5 feet front he fridge and I’m n middle of something already to help him . I feel like saying who do u think u are? Queen of Sheba? Get off ur ass and get it urself ! but I usually just do as he asks. ofwish I cud be more like u but honestly he seems like the most selfish person I know and imagine how un handle it so well . I mean he has even said he has a real problem .’and i guess all I want is just maybe 2-3 days out of the week where he comes home and we can eat at a areasonable hour and shower and get some lovin and maybe wattxh tv together and not be drained and miserable in the morning from lack of sleep . But he refuses to bend in any way and to me it is 100% selfish and I’m starting to hate him because of it . Got any advise for me ?

  • My new wife (see pic) loves: the beach, sun, swimming, knitting and reading on the beach. While she does this I fish.
    I match made in heaven. She is my dream come true. DCT!
    I just need to learn to fillet the fish for her.
    Other times she shops and we just meet up.
    Thank you Jesus.

  • Very nice article! This January (2016), my wife and I will have been married 22 years – best catch we ever made! January weddings are great! Highly recommend them! Looking forward to more posts!

  • Perfect! I married my fisherman last December. He is a charter boat captain in MD whose striper season is April until the beginning of December some years…and you hit it spot on! I always loved fishing, crabbing, and really just being out on the water so I thought it was awesome he did it for a living…until April…we are called fishing widows down here the first few months..doubles during trophy season so he’s literally gone from 4am until 8 or 9pm everyday! And god forbid you have a wedding to attend around that time!! Thank goodness he fishes out of a marina with a fun tiki bar so I can pass the time until he gets in on weekends 🙂 Wouldn’t trade it though!

  • I love this. It is totally my boyfriend. But I have to disagree with #5 because here in Nebraksa when open water season ends, ice fishing begins. We had a wedding to attend in March and it happened to be on the last “good ice” weekend. I am still thanking him for going to the wedding with me. But I wouldn’t change my life with my fisherman for anything.

      • Lauren, I’ve been addicted to this sit for so many years and have loved your inside story. I’ve always been the woman put down by people thinking I don’t know what I’m doing even though I’ve been fishing and boating since 3. Now 42. Thank you for your strong words and support

  • Ha! This took me back to before I said “I do” and was seeing everything through rose coloured glasses. Fast forward 8 years to when you are trying to remember why it was you said “I do” to being alone all the time. “I do” to being the one having to clean, run errands, cut the grass, run the kids around, cook while he gets to enjoy his free time on the weekends.
    “I do” to never being able to take a family vacation together that doesn’t affect the fishing schedule.
    “I do” hope that you are able to find balance because it isn’t easy.

  • Lauren, that was a great read that really made me laugh. Ryan is a lucky guy to have such an understanding person for his condition. All the best.

  • Awesome article! We fish together now , since we met we have been enjoying this ! I love to fish always have even before we met 12 years ago! I wouldn’t have it any other way myself?

  • I loved your post! All of the points mentioned applied to me, and I’ve been married for more than twenty years 🙂

  • Ha! Absolutely! My I’ve been with my fisherman for just about 5 years now and he runs a charter boat in NJ for a living. My comeback to when I get told “you wanted to fall in love with a fisherman!” after I complain a little about no time together is “I wanted to fall in love with someone who liked to fish, NOT a fisherman, there IS a difference!” LOL Nobody warned me either, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered. Love is Love… fish gut smell and everything! >{

  • This was an excellent article. I was cracking up the whole time! So very true. When you get married, nothing changes. You still have to go get bait. Wash the boat while he filets the fish. Make him PB&J the night before so he can leave at 4am. Luckily I was able to get married in July! 🙂

  • This was hands down the funniest blog I’ve read in some time. Spot on all the way through! I have been with my fisherman for 15 years, our very first date he said and I quote, “I fish. I fish a lot. Like everyday a lot.” We lived in PA at the time and I thought, “Okay, I like to fish, that’s awesome.” Then I realized he wasn’t kidding! He would fish locally AND drive 2 hours to the beach when he could. We now live in NJ where he runs his full time charter business taking others fishing. Fishing is literally our life. I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂

  • Love this article. I’ve been with my fisherman 7 years. I’ve taken many “fish” pictures, baited many hooks and have even caught a few nice ones myself. Wouldn’t trade any of it. They truly are a different breed. ;). ❤

  • Your article is very sweet, funny, and totally on the mark. I can relate from the other perspective as a person who likes to fish and it feels like a lot of time is spent fishing, analyzing, and talking about fishing. Your patience is remarkable!

  • This just made me laugh out loud at work…

    “Ryan even has a picture of just a striped bass – not even a person in the picture with him – framed, next to his bed. I was baffled.”

    I may or may not have something similar to this in my apartment.

  • Great post . i have had some lost relationships over my fishing and some that never begun as well lol . I will defiantly use your writing to break in the next one and give her the warning lol

  • Ryan. Clearly you’re not quite the fisherman I thought you were. When you have a keeper on the line you should know it. You need to hook this one and taker her home. Time to tighten up the drag. January sounds fine to me. I’ll clear my schedule.

    On a side note. It was surprisingly hard to write this comment with fishing references with out accidentally making one that sounded inappropriate.

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