In the August issue of Trout, official publication of Trout
Unlimited, there's a quiz-type test for fly fisherman. Without
exception, the questions deal with such matters as proper hook size,
differences between spentwing and upright patterns, proper uses of the
double haul in casting, and other purely technical considerations.
By Ed Zern
It has always seemed to this department that the really important and
fundamental problems of fishing cannot be, or at least should not be,
reduced to mere technical knowhow or mechanical skills; rather, that
they are essentially moral and ethical in nature, and that such efforts
as this to dispiritualize the sport are a sad reflection of the
materialistic world in which we live today.
I have, therefore, drawn up a quiz of my own with the thought that if
all trout fisherman were forced to take a test of this sort, only those
who achieved a certain minimum grade would be granted licenses and
the pressure on our streams and lakes might thus be substantially reduced.
Here are the questions.
1. You are engaged to marry your beautiful and charming childhood
sweetheart, whose family has no money but who loves you devotedly.
Two weeks before the wedding date you meet a homely, bowlegged,
pigeon-toed girl whose father owns two miles of excellent fishing near his
home, has a shooting and fishing lodge in western Montana, and owns
both banks of three topnotch pools on the Miramichi in New Brunswick.
She is an only child, and is obviously attracted to you. What do
you do about your engagement?
These are, adminttedly, difficult questions, and while I don't
propose to reveal the correct answers, these hints may be in order:
2. After spending considerable time and money learning to tie flies,
you collect a magnificent assortment of natural blue dun and other
high-grade hackle, furs for dubbing, fine-wire hooks, and other materials.
Shortly after you install a fully-equipped fly-tying table in your den,
your six-year-old son develops a violent allergy to feathers. What action
do you take?
3. While fishing the lower Brodheads in Pennsylvania you notice an
enormous brown trout rising steadily to a hatch of green drakes. Just
about the time you have tied a No.12 Green Drake to your leader and
spent ten minutes carefully working your way across the current into
casting position, you notice that the hatch is beginning to taper off.
At the same time you hear a cry from the railroad track alongside the
stream and see that a beautiful damsel in a low-cut dress has
caught her foot in a switch and is calling to you that the express
train from Stroudsburg is Scranton is due in three minutes. What do you
4. While fishing from a boat with a wealthy uncle who owns a number of
custom-built Payne, Garrison, and Orvis rods with matched reels and
lines, not to mention several best-grade Parker shotguns and a brace
of matched Model 21 Winchesters, he tell you that as his own children
have no interest in outdoor sports he has recently revised his will to leave
all his fishing tackle and guns to you. When he stands up to play a fish
in deep water, you recall that he's unable to swim a stroke. What's
your next move?
1. It may help your thinking on this question to bear in mind that
while beauty fades and mortal love may turn to ashes, the Miramichi
has been a pretty good salmon river for several thousand years.
I would propose that anyone flunking this test should be obliged
henceforth to stop taking up space on trout streams and confine
himself to some other pastime. There's not enough good water
today for even the truly dedicated anglers, and if a man doesn't
have a sense of proportion and a feeling for relative values,
he doesn't deserve a license." ~ Ed Zern,
- Exit Laughing
2. Frankly, you may not get full credit on this if you suggest
putting the boy up for adoption. There are several good boarding
schools that accept boys of this age, or you could send him to live with
relatives. Adoption is a lengthy, bothersome process.
3. Some fairly expert sportsmen have been tripped up by this one.
We suggest you ask yourself which is more difficult to come by,
a four-pound brown trout or a pretty girl.
4. Well, there's that proverb about casting your bread upon
Credits: From The Best of Ed Zern published by
The Lyons Press.
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