I know, we've all heard the old saw, "Are all fishermen
liars, or do just liars fish?" I for one am getting
pretty darn tired of having to defend myself from
that one. The absolute, unvarnished truth is this.
We are NOT liars, never were, don't now, and will
We don't even stretch the truth, not one tiny bit
of it. And I have proof! But first, I must admit
it may be all our own fault. You see, we're a rather
modest lot, having invented the sport in the
'Old Country' many, many, years ago and shipping
it here to the 'Colonies.'
It's somewhat related to a matter of semantics. As
our common language (which is the one thing which
separates from our progenitors) evolved and mutated
over time, some things simply were ignored. Take for
instance 'words.' I have here a whole book of nothing
but words, compiled by some guy named Webster (and
nicely arranged too, actually in alphabetical order)
But, the ones we flyfishers need are not in there,
at least not with the right meanings. Now I do not
point any blame at the old guy, but, for sure he was
not a fisherman or else he would not have been so
Oh, he has a few useful ones, like 'pound,' 'inch,'
'foot,' but these are in too common use to work for
fly fishing. Let me elucidate. A pound is universally
understood to mean a certain weight, a given and
accepted amount of little bits of matter called
ounces. So be it, but, not useful for our sport.
Another is the word 'foot.' How useless that one
is. Does not hardly come close to getting the
length correct. A 'foot' is made up of (here we
go again) little bits of measure called inches.
Worthless, no one ever catches fish by the inch,
never (fish-for-pay-ponds excluded).
Inches, yards, gallons, liters, foot (feet), acres,
hectors, pounds, ounces, (tons?) You see, all kinds
of names for measuring and none expressly for us.
It's high time someone fixes this long ignored
problem. Like me! So here and now, I James Castwell
will attempt to set the matter straight. We (flyfishers)
need some new words, words not invented way back when
they should have been.
Let me start with this one, "Footer." Now there
you have a dandy word. I have heard it used before
but never in the correct context. I now officially
proclaim that the word 'footer' is a measurement
of a standard 'foot' multiplied by 1.5. You can
see the wisdom of this immediately.
Let's say you are lucky (skillful) enough to catch
a fish of sixteen inches. By my new measuring method
it would be called a "two-footer." It is not a
difficult number to work with, simply do the
easy math and we all will have a number we can
agree upon. In fact in some of my research on
this I have found that a modified version of
this method may have been in use secretly for
many years. But no matter, it is out in the open
now and shall be the official method from here on
out for all flyfishers. (Not for those who use
worms though, they should be measured in the
standard 'inches'). Look for it soon in a book
by Webster in a store near you.
But weight! There is more. Yes, 'weight,' they have
forgotten us on that one too. I now invent the word
"Pounder." There, it lives! A word lives by it's use
and I just used it. The word is of course to be used
to describe the actual weight of fish. Not coal or
tomatoes or unimportant things, just fish. It works
a little like the word 'footer,' but it is different.
"Pounder" shall be a measurement of how much a fish
really does weigh. Again, the 1.5 rule can be employed
with arithmetic ease. Simply multiply a fishes (let's
say a 24 ounces) weight by 1.5. The result will from
now on be known as a "two pounder." This will bring
into agreement the words of our sport with the rest
of the civilized world and should, in only a few short
years, become standard vernacular world-wide.
Now there are a few little things we can add at our
discretion as well. Like the word, "Coupla." I am
sure you have heard it before but probably didn't
really understand the actual meaning. It also works
with the rule of 1.5. Any fish which weighs (24 ounces)
could be referred to as a "Coupla pounds," simply a
modification of the wrongly used word 'pounds.' It
also can be co-joined with the length measurement of
(16 inches, foot/feet) and produce, "Coupla feet" long.
Another useful additive is oft employed, that of
'or so/er so' (both the same thing). These coupled
with either pounds or feet can be used to further
illustrate the actual size/length of a fish. The
1.5 rule here should be employed with gusto. (Example,
16 inches 'er so'.) This would be in regards to a
fish which would be less than a 'pounder,' actually
a 3/4 pounder but that gets picky. I feel the 'er so'
could be acceptable.
And lastly I should point out a rather embarrassing
situation, namely that of the NW steel-headers. The
sun seldom shines here in the great NW of the good
old US of A, the seasons seem to run together and a
certain monotony prevails to the extent that those
who fish here have been at times referred to as
belonging to the M.P.B. (Members of the Permanently
Befuddled). These guys are really a likeable lot but
were years ago led far, far astray.
I actually tested my methods a few years ago with them.
The 'Pounder' was to be used on those feisty little fish
they catch, a bit on the smallish side, and I figured my
1.5 would be a good addition. As fate would have it,
they messed up and divided instead of multiplying and
the darn things, although weighing at the least a full
pound to eight pounds or better, they became known as
(can you believe this?) 'Half-Pounders!
An absolute tragedy and inexcusable. Small error but
has had devastating results for many years. They are
to be pitied as it seems it's too late to correct this
addendum: For those mathematically disadvantaged
try this. A 'Footer' equals 8 inches. Therefore a 16
inch fish would be called a "Two-Footer." A "Pounder"
equals 12 ounces ('er so'), therefore a 24 ounce fish
would be a "Two-Pounder." Simple when you get the
hang of it.
~ James Castwell