Friday, May 2, 2008

Fishing for Answers

At the age of 63 I have taken up flyfishing.

Jim, the owner and proprietor of Shannon’s Fly Shop in Califon, got me started, outfitted and, after a brief but encouraging lesson, launched. He is my fishing guru, so to speak.

While fishing is relaxing and not a form of public embarrassment like golf, it is not without its frustrations. So while standing waist deep in the ass numbing water, I have compiled a list of questions for my fly fishing guru:

How come a guy can catch a bigger trout on a jellybean than I can with my $250 collection of fuzz balls?

How is it possible to catch one’s own net on three consecutive casts?

Why when I finally decide to pull my waders out of my crotch do three pretty girls jog by?

How can your line become hopelessly tangled in the garage?

How can you get your cell phone to work after you’ve dropped it in the water?

What sadist decided everything has to be so small?

Why is catch-and-release a good thing when guys in pick-up trucks are doing everything short of drag netting to fill their coolers?

Are the fish having fun?

How can a stone get inside my wader boot?

Why are those cyclists who stopped to watch me laughing?

So Jim, as Ricky used to say to Lucy: you got some splainen to do.

I have worked out a few things on my own though and am happy to share them.

When another fisherman asks you how many fish you have caught, three is a good answer. Anything less sounds like you don’t know what you are doing and more would be boastful. Explain the lack of fish on your person by saying you catch and release. I usually say “a few.” I remember in an old western a townie asked the cold eyed gunfighter how many people he had shot. "A few," he said. I try to mimic his laconic worldwearyness.

If you do decide to keep the one fish you caught, hide it in your waders. It looks lame walking back to your car with one fish. Unless it is huge, then flaunt it, baby.

Here’s another tip: always take a pee before you put your waders on. If you are like me, the sound of the rushing water and the three beers you had for lunch will fire up your bladder in hurry.

Jim didn’t tell me this. I figured it out myself.

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