April 23rd, 2007

One of My Best Catches
By James Castwell


My wife asked me earlier today, "Why don't you just write about one of the nicer catches you have had?" So, with that spark of inspiration, and a one hour nap, I dove into my computer. All sorts of episodes fluttered across my mind. Big fish, a lot of fish, unusual ones, early fish adventures. Hard to believe I had so many to choose from. Then another element seemed to niggle its way into my mind. Did I ever lie about any of the fish I caught? Okay, make that a fib. You know, add a fish or two, a few inches, perhaps a few pounds? I'm sure that I have done it. I don't like the fact, but, we all do it, right? Is it really, really lying if it's about fishing?

I mean, come on, it's just fishing. Well, okay, fly fishing, but we still do it. Don't we? How about a situation like this. Let's say that you knew the 'limit' was five fish a day on a certain lake. Keepers. On this particular day you only got four. You're back at the parking lot, about to get back into your car and leave, when another angler just going out recognizes you.

"Yo! How'd ya do today?"

Now you're trapped. You know what's coming next, he's going to ask how many you got. You've seen him fish here before and for sure knows the limit is five fish. You actually hooked seven, but three got off. Does that somehow make five? Be ready now, here he comes.

"What'cha use out there? I'm going with a gob of worms as per usual," he says as he starts sliding around the tail gate of his truck and ambling in your direction. If you say you caught five, will he ask to see them? Can you kinda ease into the car and gentle outta here before he gets much closer? He stops and leans against the tailgate to put his rod together.

So what if you only have four in your cooler? Big deal! Stupid law anyway. Five? These fish are tough. Hardly anyone gets five any more. Not like it was back a few years. You mumble to yourself, "Oh crap, is he coming over in this direction?"

"I have seen you out here before," he hails. "You always looked to me like you were really good at this. Ya get your limit again?"

"Ya," you smile as you swing your backside under your steering wheel. "Didn't land 'em all today, but I did okay."

You got 'into' five right? Even more, actually seven, just didn't get them all the way landed. But, you can't let this guy know you couldn't catch your limit, can you? With that, you swing the door shut and toss him a small wave. Four/five. What's the dif?

Still braced against his tail-gate, he raises his right hand, and with an easy motion says, "Boy, I sure wish I was good like you. Ya know, I never got more than two outta here at any one time. These fish are real smart. Well, See ya. Have a good one!"

You roll up your window part way and head on out. In the rear-view mirror you watch as he turns and heads to the water. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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