Mom's not chummy with
by Kristen Twedt
Fishermen's tales run the gamut of fiction, from
pond stories of gargantuan bass to high seas adventures with whales.
But not this one. What I am about to tell you is true, so help me,
or my name isn't Kristen "Bream Buster" Twedt.
My husband instigated our most recent fishing
trip with, "Why don't you book us a cabin for the weekend?"
The four of us packed enough gear and snack food
for a family of 20 and headed to a Mississippi state park. The
placid lake dotted with dogwood and wild azaleas along its banks
sparkled with rose-colored reflections in the twilight. There was no
hint of the evil that lay in wait.
We learned last year at the very same venue that
bread is the bait of choice for bream. You woo the fish by
sprinkling the surface with a few crumbs or a couple of loaves,
depending on who's in charge of the bread bag. My son informed me
this is called "chumming" - a baffling term, considering that you
intend to yank the little suckers up by their lips, gut them, fry
them and eat them. With chums like that, who needs enemies?
Mom in charge
Things were going great, which means nothing was
required of me but watching. Then, we ran low on bait.
"I'll run to the store for some bait, er,
bread," called my spouse over his shoulder. "I'LL BE RIGHT BACK."
May God filet and broil me in butter if those
very words haven't caused me more trouble than "I DO." Our minivan
hadn't reached spitting distance from the parking lot (trust me, I
know) when all of the sudden, the fish launched their assault.
"MooOOOOOOoommmm, I got another one! GET IT
OOOOFFFFFFFF!!!!" my daughter squealed.
In case you didn't know, fish are slimy. They
have buggy little eyes and spiny fins and they really don't take too
well to visits on dry land. No sooner did I get my hand wrapped
around one despicable creature and tug the hook from its mouth than
my son shouted, "Me, TOOOOO!"
As I popped the lid on our laundry detergent
bucket, a.k.a. holding tank, I discovered something else about fish.
They can fly. One of those bream blasters shot out of his tank,
quickly followed by another. Fish flapped, kids screamed, and the
park warden arrived asking something about reaching my limit. Wasn't
The scene was unlike anything you'll ever see in
Field and Stream. I recaptured the escapees and taught my kids some
clever outdoorsy lingo. Our camping trips are nothing if not
educational. Meanwhile, a dog ate our last slice of bait.
Then, sinister snickers echoed from the liquid
depths of the lake. Prominently displayed near the water's edge was
a stack of gift certificates to a free, all-you-can-eat catfish
buffet. There was something "fishy" about the water-stained
documents. The temptation to snatch them was overpowering. Then it
We had almost been chummed.