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Ramblings from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

I Fish, Therefore I Am…….Crazy

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I am an avid fisherman. Almost every morning finds me on the lakeshore somewhere. I have a choice between several fine lakes in the area, so there is no chance of me being bored.

Let me state for the record, however, that I think fishermen everywhere to be slightly demented. I mean we exaggerate the size of fish caught, the amount of fish caught, how we managed to entice them so that we could catch them in the first place, and brag about the “one that got away.” (I find that particularly disturbing. I mean why would we brag about losing a big fish? It makes no sense whatsoever.)

I also find that fishermen are some of the most opinionated people on the planet. Nor are they adverse to loudly sharing such opinions. Take my fishing experiences, for example.

The loudmouths usually start with my fishing pole. OK, so I don’t own a rod and reel that cost me more than $15. I don’t go down to the nearest Bass Pro Shop and blow over $100 on a fancy fishing pole. I’m not after marlin, here in these lakes. The largest fish might be a striped bass, a catfish, or maybe a pike. I usually catch catfish, large and small mouth bass, bluegill, sun perch, red-eyes (rock bass), etc. My pole handles them just fine, thank you. Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

Then it is the way I rig my pole. I use only a weighted foam bobber, and a size 6 hook. I am always told that nobody ever caught fish like that, you need a sinker. Also a smaller or larger hook is advised, depending on the other fisherman. Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

My tying on of hooks really gets them going. “Don’t you know how to tie a fishermen’s knot? That hook will come right off!” Yes, I do. I learned about 10 years before you were born. But I’m nearing the big 5-0, and my eyesight isn’t what it was, and I generally forget my glasses. But my hooks will stay on, you bet that! Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

Then they go on and on because I use surgical scissors to cut my Nightcrawlers (earthworms) into smaller pieces rather than tear them with my fingers. That is, if they don’t tell me I’m using the wrong bait. And I keep a wet rag around to clean my hands, which also seems to be a source of amusement for other fishermen. So my way is less messy, and do you mind if I reel in this fish?

The time of day I fish is always wrong with other fishermen. I start just before or right at sunup. That’s too early, the water will be too cold—that’s what they say. If I go in the evening, just before sundown, or night fish, that seems to be a problem as well. “The only things that will bite are the mosquitoes!” If I go in the middle of the day, they say the fish will see my shadow and not bite. I’m reminded of a quote that I would credit the author if I remembered who it was. “Twilight: That time that separates the period when the fish don’t bite because they can see the line from the period when the fish don’t bite because they can’t see the lure!” Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

Actually catching fish is another good way to entice comment. So I don’t pull the line for every small nibble. A group of teenagers called me “an f*****g retard” over this recently. Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

And when I do set the hook I am unfavorablely compared to Master Bass Fisher Roland Martin. Old Roland had a TV show, (might still have, I dunno, I don’t own a TV), and his standard move was to yank like he was trying to pull out a mired up car, and say in a grunt: “Uh, Son, that’s a big one!” My kids fish with me and comment “That was an ‘uh, son’ dad!” Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

Places I go to fish also cause comment. “You won’t catch fish in there, too much snag-ups!” Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

“Hey, you aren’t gonna have any luck there, no cover in which the fish can hide!” Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

My catch and release brings up comment as well. I fish often below the spillway at the Hungry Mother Park dam. They have a nice concrete walk there, wide enough for my camp chair and gear. But I release all the fish I don’t keep downstream, not back into the hole. I have a really good reason for this. As a teenager, I fished every inch of that creek from where it enters the lake to where it exits into the river down on the golf course. Now I know other kids are doing the same thing, so I’m sending them some fish to catch. Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

Fish that I keep can keep other fishermen going on ad infinitum. I never saw a catfish or red-eye too small to keep. I also eat carp, which others claim are inedible. Maybe they should learn to cook, yeah? Do you mind if I reel in this fish?

Then there are the stupid remarks to which I will add my own snappy replies, (Thanks, Al Jeffee, of Mad Magazine, father of Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions!)

“Well, there’s fish in there!” Really? And here I thought I had found a good place to waste my time!

“Look, dude, you’re getting a bite!” Oh, is that why my bobber is going down! Silly me, I thought it was a good day for gravity!

“Well, they’ll hit Nightcrawlers!” Yeah? Where would a fish get a taste for worms, at a restaurant under the lake where it is “The Catch of the Day?”

“Wonder how deep it is right there?” Deep? No, it’s shallow water. Won’t hardly get your feet wet, assuming you stay where you are. Do you know how to swim well?

“Ya got to leave the bait there and wait on the fish.” No joke. I thought I could make them bite…

“What you need is a boat.” On my to-get list, as soon as my rich Uncle gets out of the poorhouse… (a Southwest Virginia saying.)

“Whooo-eee! I can see the fish in there! There goes a nice ‘un!” So shut up and fish, moron! Ya wanna borrow my glasses so you can see ‘um better? Sheesh!

“Now, them catfish will sting the living daylights out of you!” Is that a fact? You know, in nearly 40 years of fishing, you’d just think that I would have learned that by now!

"Now, what you gotta do is…” All right, already! Shut the [insert bad word here] up and leave me the [insert bad word here] alone you misbegotten [serious bad word here]! Find yourself another hole before I throw you in!

Good Lord! There’s only so much a person can stand!

Updated 09-25-2009 at 06:30 AM by Pendragon



  1. pussnboots's Avatar
    I enjoyed reading this
  2. Pendragon's Avatar
    Thanks, Boots!
  3. Virgil's Avatar
    Fantastic!! That was a great blog Pen. I thoroughly enjoyed it. You really brought that to life. I went fishing twice in my life and was terrible. But what do you expect from a city boy. And those teenagers that called you that name, they deserve a good swft kick in the a$$.
  4. applepie's Avatar
    :lol: I laughed so hard reading this simply because I can sympathize. My husband has recently gotten into fishing again, and it is amazing the obnoxious (however well meaning) advice you get. ~ Meg ~
  5. prendrelemick's Avatar
    One of the best fishing stories I've read.
  6. Pendragon's Avatar
    Thank you all. And Virgil, they would have gotten it, only they waited until they were out of my range, and a guy built like me (read fat) cannot run after them!
  7. applepie's Avatar
    [QUOTE=Pendragon;bt39884]Thank you all. And Virgil, they would have gotten it, only they waited until they were out of my range, and a guy built like me [I](read fat)[/I] cannot run after them! :lol:[/QUOTE]

    I've a solution to this if you will forgive me butchering a quote:lol:

    Walk softly and carry a sling shot armed with rocks:D
  8. qimissung's Avatar
    That is four-star funny!!! Thank You! This is a brilliant essay. You just captured the ultimate kibitzers!
  9. NickAdams's Avatar
    This made my day.
  10. stephofthenight's Avatar
    That was great I went fishing once, cried when i had to pull the hook out of the fishes lip cauese I thought it had to hurt him...never went again.

    Catfish sting???
  11. NickAdams's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by stephofthenight
    Catfish sting???
    Do you mind if I reel in this fish?
  12. Pendragon's Avatar
    Yep, Steph, they have three barbed fins which can sting the heck out of you trying to get them off the hook. A lot of the time I simply cut the line, I can afford to lose a hook and they still live with a hook in their mouth. I have caught them with several hooks already in them, and one still trailing a bobber where he broke the line!
  13. AuntShecky's Avatar
    Another good one! Loved the refrain "And
    do you mind if I reel in this fish" and thanks for the plug for Al Jaffe, which you've probably guessed, was one of my
    heroes when I was growing up, way, way, way back in the day.