June 30th, 2003

Flyfishers are NOT liars!
or, Castwell's 1.5 rule
By James Castwell

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 never be.

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 darn sloppy.

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 mistake.

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

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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