In the spirit of the holidays, humor me as I reminisce about taking my nephew fishing at a pond near his home. We talked about many manly subjects. Like, “the plural of fish is fish. So if you caught just one, and someone asks how you did, you say, “Wow, did we catch fish!” When we got back home, an auntie asked Sam what his uncle had taught him. The lad – now an attorney , I should add – answered, “He told me how to lie about fishing.”
Truth is, I am the envy of wives and fishing friends for my truthfulness about the size and quantity of fish caught. They do point out that they can’t disprove anything, because I release everything I catch. But I am also known to tolerate Loveland Fishing Club buddies who cheerfully lie about any damned thing, every Friday morning breakfast. So, am I culpable here? Does tolerance for the truthiness of others mean anything anyway, in an era when lighthearted lying has been transformed into professional career paths?
Aw, I don’t know. Some people talk about disgraced ex-congressman George Santos like he was a horrible person. But the truth is, others keep insisting he was just a little stinker who told colorful white lies. You do have to wonder, though, if you’d fib about your mom dying in a collapsing building on 9/11 what would you do in a fishing tournament?
Speaking of tournaments, it sounds like those two disgraced Lake Erie walleye fishermen paid a higher penalty than old George. Both lost their fishing licenses for three years, and one even forfeited his boat. I must admit, I’d prefer watching those walleye fishermen on the news, to see how they got away for so long with stuffing fish with lead weights.
Truth is, changing morals and technologies have helped transform just about everything lately, including the sport of fishing. These days, for a few hundred – okay, a few thousand – okay, several thousand dollars -- you can buy a remarkable high-definition fishing television – one that scans water in all directions and then screams out the number and size of every member of every species trying to hide down there. Remember when Fezzik the giant in the movie, “Princess Bride” was told his way of fighting was to bash in a guy’s head with a rock?” Fezzik responded, “My way is not very sportsmanlike.” I like that. Maybe all the moral guidance we anglers need is to ask ourselves whether what we’re doing is sportsmanlike.
I really don’t want to start an argument about how, when or where to fish. Truth is, I’m a geezer who doesn’t like everything he sees taking place with our sport, and just wants to outwit a few fish of my own. And maybe brag about (and even catch) a few more than Tom or Wayne or Darrell.
My “new” boat is 23 years old now, and I prefer my belly boat, slow but sneaky. And my ice fishing “fish finder” is an ancient Vexilar FL/8 flasher that just flashes, the same way it has for two decades. You can likely catch more fish with newer stuff; be my guest. I don’t keep 'em anyway. And my fishing buddies are getting pretty old and set in their ways too. If I hand them a questionable fishing report, they’ll likely forget the details anyway, before the next Friday morning breakfast.
Happy New Year everyone.