Lighter Side
February 15th, 1999

Crime Doesn't Pay Whom?

By Ed Zern
Excerpt from How To Catch Fishermen

Several years ago a friend of mine grew weary of elbowing his way through hordes of fishermen along the banks of every trout stream within driving distance of New York City, where he then lived, and having no particular ties with the metropolis he pulled up stakes and headed west. When he found a western city with a nice climate and an even nicer trout stream flowing nearby, he bought a house on the outskirts of town and settled down as a permanent resident. Shortly thereafter he sent me a long letter with rapt description of the nearby fishing, with special enthasis on the fact that anyone who fishes the several local streams may not only latch onto large numbers of sizable brown and rainbow trout but may have a mile or more of water all to himself, even on week ends. It sounded sensational.

Last year, though, the same friend sent me a batch of newspaper clippings describing his off-season activities. It seems he had organized 3,000 (or maybe it was 3,000,000) youngsters of the city into a gigantic Junior Sportsman's Club and was teaching them the basic elements of fly fishing - with classes in casting, fly tying and all essential phases of the sport. He was manifestly pleased with himself, and in a accompanying note he explained that the club would undoubtedly help reduce juvenile delinquency and make fine, cleancut, wholesome citizens out of boys who would otherwize end their days in the hoosegow, if not actually in the hot seat.

Personally I feel that this guy is a menace to his fellow fishermen. If his program is successful he will have that mob of moppets sloshing around in trout streams, instead of loitering around pool rooms, and gin mills, where they belong. And in a short while the streams of his neighborhood will be as crowded with anglers as the Esopus or the Housatonic or any other eastern river. It simply does't make sense. Instead of letting those kids go happily about their business of rolling drunks, holding up filling stations, smoking reefers, and other normal pastimes my friend is trying to herd them into streams and lakes, where they will be a real nuisance.

And regardless of what you may think of our penal system, the fact is that every man in jail is one less potential fisherman to clutter up your favorite pool or pond. Frankly, if there were a few more people in penitentiaries and reform schools and fewer on rivers and lakes it would suit me fine. They could all be paroled on the last day of fishing season, with orders to report back to the warden and be locked up again on the following opening day; the money saved on prison food bills through this arrangement could be used for general stream improvement work.

In fact I am about to start, in my own neighborhood, a campaign to interest all youngster in joining a Junior Crime Club, with courses in petty thievery, hijacking, pocket-picking, marijuana culture, breaking and entering, arson, counterfeiting, salf-blowing, disposal of stolen goods, felonious assault and other larcenous arts, criminal crafts and sinful sciences. Any member of the Club who is caught within five hundred feet of a lake, stream or pond containing any species of game fish will be stood in a tub of concrete until it hardens, and then sunk in the deepest part of the water that led to his downfall. And the only "tight lines" that Club members will ever know are the ones by which they swing from a gallows.

Here - have an application blank. ~ Ed Zern

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River Home, Part 2 | Creative Counting
Best By Test| E Pluribus Unum
All About Entomology| Fly Tying Types
Brook Trout
Going crazy; the World's Smartest Fishing Dog (#1)
Crazy Man| My Jacket | "OYES OYES" |
Fresh Look at Catch & Release
A Fly Fisher's Ten Commandments
Waders Local Fishing "How To Swipe A Trout"
Chicken Fish'n
Bryce Crowing on Chicken Fishing
Darnit, Santa and Rudolph
When Bad Rods Happen to Good People
Flyfishing for Squirrels
Sparing the Rod, Part 1
Sparing the Rod, Part 2
Sparing the Rod, conclusion

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