A Fishy Business
This is a pull deep in the Russian soul, the desire to fish and to eat fish. It might be on an ice-covered river, or at a breakfast buffet, if there’s going to be fish there, there will be Russians in hot pursuit.
And now that the children were getting older, we realized that everyone may need a fishing permit. Petya does the research and I go with him. Not to fish, just to get the license. We had no idea it would be so technical.
“Driver’s license, please,” the clerk at the local Walmart requests.
We are in the hunting and fishing section, between the shotgun cleaning supplies and the bloodworm bait refrigerator. I feel like I’m on another planet.
“Not a local resident?” the clerk asks.
“We live in both places,” our son replies. “But we can only have one I.D.”
“Then I need to charge you the out-of-state price. Fresh water or salt?”
“Fourteen days or one year? That’s $11 or $35.”
“One year,” he shrugs.
It would have been $10 for one year if we could prove residency. And no, they don’t accept your home water or electrical bill. It must be a valid I.D., but I guess we could have gotten around that by using his passport and then just stating our local address….
“The flounder are running,” he notes.
“Oh?” I brighten.
“Bring needle-nosed pliers,” he counsels. “Remember that all saltwater fish are carnivorous. They have teeth and if you need to pull the hook out, you’ll need a hook remover or pliers.”
Good to know. Petya takes it all in.
“If you catch a shark, you must be at least a mile out to sea in order to keep it. So toss it back if you’re not out on a boat, but be careful.”
“And if your mother joins you, don’t give her your pole, even for a minute. She can’t touch it without a license. You might want to go to the bathroom and you hand somebody your pole, but remember, they will be fined. Keep your license with you always, probably put it in your tackle box. It’s waterproof.”
We examine the license. It looks like a store receipt, yet on slightly-thicker paper. We go on our way, thoughts on man-eating fish and flounder.