Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
November 13th, 2000

More Fungus-Headed Things

By Ol' Red, Aurora, Colorado, USA

Considering all the gnarking and yapping and name-calling (which I really liked by the way!), I think the time is ripe to speak of things dark and harrowing and bone-chilling.

My less favorite type of Fungus-Head: The Bait Fisherman.

This species of Fungus-Head is oft-times referred to as "spin-fisherman" (due to the fact that they use reels that have little silver line holders and go round and round) and "worm-inflators." Why anyone would want to syringe air into a worm is beyond me, but what do I know? You might recall I'm the one who dives in with a knife and spears the nearest fish. And, while I have fished for years with worms (and proudly done so, thank you very much) I have never had the occasion to pump one up. Hell, I never really had the inclination. Or the idea, for that matter. I think it's gross. I think it's sick. I think it's just too weird for words, and anyone practicing this should be open for some sort of lawsuit and/or stoning from S.A.L.M.O.N. - the Society Against Ludicrous Maltreatment of Nightcrawlers (and all lesser wormkind).

Damn. No wonder no one wants to fish around people like this!

Know ye your enemy by the fact that a great portion of their off time is spent staring gape-mouthed and utterly entranced by late night tv ads for rubber worms that "look better than the real thing!" You may also know thine enemy by the fact that this fungushead heartily splashes through water without the slightest concern for other fishermen, decorum, or his life. They also seem to really like anything shiny. Like "bait" painted to almost look like some kind of mythological fish festooned with hundreds of hooks hanging off this so-called work of art.

It isn't really that hard, as a purely unjudgemental observer, to spot a bait fisherman. Even when he isn't carrying. Find a fly fisherman. Keep your distance. Keep looking. The bait fisherman will be the guy that crashes out of the woods, jumps over rocks until gaining footing on the rock right behind the fly fisherman, and yeah, verily, you have spotted your bait fishing fungushead. Or, alternately, look for the guy with about 18 kids and a really pissed off old lady. If everyone is fighting loudly, half the kids are crying about the bugs biting them while the other half are tromping through the water throwing rocks in (not to mention at the "funny old man in the weird pants") and causing a great and heaving sigh from everyone really attempting to fish, that guy is about to pull a spin rod from the back of his Pinto, look around to find the exact spot where he can push his way between fisher people and "demand" his "right" to be there.

They have the manners of motherless curs most of the time. They throw dirty diapers in the river. Or their family members do. They make a lot of noise. They're obnoxious. They're pushy . . .

And, they're actually very easy to get rid of.

Instead of getting mad and storming away from your sweet spot, dear fly person, use those hunter instincts. Track your prey. Find its weakness. Use that weakness against it. If the prey is not doing his part and giving you any hints, use your herding instinct. After all, you aren't the only one ticked off on the river now are you? Gather your fellow flypersons! (We should come up with some sort of secret "gather round people" signal. Something subtle. Like reaching for the sunscreen and plastering the backs of our ears. Or taking our nips and yanking on the zinger line three times down, once up.) At the signal, all flypersons are to head to the designated pack leader's side. The designated pack leader will be the first person that's had it and gives the signal. A conversation will therefore ensue. Something dark and foreboding - and loud enough for the offender of all to hear. Something along the lines of:

Pack Leader: "Hey, you guys hear what happened last weekend?"

Others: "No! What?"

Pack Leader: "That new Game Warden they got? He was tooling around in that jeep of his, saw a bunch of people fishing and busted 'em for not having their licenses!"

Others: "Good for him!" (Everyone knows fly fishing people follow one Law: Thou shalt have thy fishing license in goode order. Also, it's scary to see a whole pack of people agreeing on "no good law-breaking offenders" getting busted en masse.)

Pack Leader: "Yeah, it was a good move on his part having the jeep camouflaged."

1 of Others: "Man, it's better that that! I hear he's running around disguised as a fly fisherman!"

Pack Leader: "Check your licenses, people!" (This is a critical call. Fumbling and cursing about not knowing where it is can only sturdy your stand. Panicked looks are not only good, but really up your believability.)

By the time you and "The Crew" look around, your enemy has packed his Pinto and taken himself and all his little fungusheads with him far, far away.

Pretty easy, huh? Quit looking at me that way. Have you EVER seen a bait fisherman with a license? They stop in at K-Mart or Wal Mart, get their gear, blow off the advice of the guy behind the counter when he suggests they get one, and they're out the door and up the creek to do some damage.

The cool part about this whole strategy is, you don't need backup. If you're a good enough b-s'r (and let's face it, if you fish, you are) you can get along with this scenario all on your own. Just wait for the guy to siddle up to you, then act like you suddenly have an idea about looking for something very, very important on your person and utterly panic when you can't "it." Be sure to say real loud, "Oh NO! My license! I gotta find it! I get caught by that (insert official title and some realistic sounding name here - Sheriff Grady will do) without it and this time he'll send my truck to be police auctioned! Aw MAN! I'm too old to do another 6 months of time!" (Hint: Never extend the jail time too unrealistically. Months are very scary when talking to a fungushead because it sounds too real not to be true. Weeks work well too.)

Or, you can use the "I'm only being your friend here" strategy and point to some obscure tree in the distance and whisper "I guess you didn't see the posted 'Fly Fishing Only' sign. It's okay, the Game Warden only makes his rounds every 20 minutes or so, so if you haul yourself downstream about a mile, you'll be outta here before he gets back."

It sometimes pays to be kind. But the pay's better when you up the ante. ~ Ol' Red

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