The Sound of Silence


One of my many pet peeves on the water is being stuck fishing around a major league chatterbox, the type of angler who carries on a breathless monologue as he casts. Sometimes it’s about his tournament exploits, other times it’s about nothing at all, but the common denominator is that it’s nonstop. If they’re in my boat, I can ignore it until they stop or expressly state that it needs to stop – the trouble usually arises when they’re in another boat sharing the same small creek or bay and I have no choice but to hear it.

After nearly 13 years of marriage and a decade of fishing together regularly, my wife understands that I can be happy with absolute silence in the boat. As long as we’re just fishing for fun, I usually engage in some light conversation with her or whoever I’m fishing with, but if we go a while without talking that’s fine, too. When she and I fish together, we probably end up talking a little bit more than I’d prefer, and a little bit less than her natural tendency. It’s the type of compromise that keeps marriages together.

This past Saturday, though, she may have developed an even better solution. We started off the morning fishing a Potomac River grass bed and caught a few right off the bat, but then the action slowed. We knew that there were more fish there and we just needed to dial in the right lures or wait for a different tidal phase for things to get right.

At 9:30, tired of the slow bite, she put in her wireless earphones. I’m not sure what exactly was in the mix, but at least some of it was teenybopper dance tracks, because she mustered an occasional Elaine Benes leg kick. No matter what it was, it made her happy. More importantly, the fish started biting again, for both of us.

We were each in our preferred environment – silence for me, organized chaos for her – and it made for a more perfect union. Better relationships through technology and dance, it works for us.