Fishing at Backwater, the lazy arm of the Water that flowed behind Hobbiton and Bywater and where Uncle Bilbo said the best bass could be caught, was nothing like fishing the Brandywine. The fish here were more cautious; the lure was more likely to get stuck in the muddy bottom than caught up in the current; the sunlight spread over the surface of the water rather than sparkling. Of all the adjustments he'd had to make since the move, Frodo thought, this ought to be one of the easiest. But it was difficult, as in everything else, to let go.
Frodo had learned to fish from Merimac and had in turn taught Meriadoc everything he knew. And Frodo liked teaching, liked being the older cousin who could speak with authority on a subject that Merry considered very complicated and important. Frodo liked the feeling that he understood the River, could control it, could even take what he wanted from it, pretending the River hadn't already taken everything from him. For Merry knew what had happened, but in all those afternoons at the Brandywine he only asked about fish, and here again Frodo was glad to have Merry follow his lead.
But in Hobbiton it seemed Frodo couldn't be sure of anything at all; even fishing was beyond him. Until today, when Bilbo sent along the gardener's son, barely older than Merry (though certainly bigger), to observe Frodo for a few minutes and then tell him (though not without deference) that he was going about it all wrong. He needn't grip so hard, Sam said, and he'd do well to speak more softly. Sam was quiet and patient, and by day's end Frodo remembered that he liked listening and learning just as well as teaching. The dinner they shared was delicious.