Goin' Fishin'

Sunday Morning eh! and if you are reading this, then you are not out in your boat or standing on a peer pretending to be fishing. Yes, sports fans, I did say pretending to be fishing. You see, I just realised that if you changed the "f" to a "w" it wouldn't make any difference. The exercise is the same.

For those of you who do not, and I am one of them, go on annual or perhaps even more often fishing expeditions. There is a mystery involved and we the stay-at-home, curled-up-by-the-computer types, are missing out on one of the great human experiences that can be indulged in by man or woman. "The great fishin' trip"! My brother and a group of his friends spend most of May and much of June planning for the "fishin' trip". It is a pilgrimage steeped in tradition and respected reverently by their loved ones, spouses, children, girl friends and significant others. But there is certainty about this expedition, we all know that we will reexperience the adventure, with the pilgrims, many times before planning begins for next year's "fishin' trip".

So, the question is obvious, why do they do it? In the past ten years I can not recall any after fishin' trip feast of steaming Walleye, nor amidst all the stories from each trip has there been details of the catch, cooking or even valiant conflicts with inhabitants of the deep dark Northern waters in their struggle to fight off the relentless pull from a hook and 5 pound line. It is time for me to tell you the secret.

Fishing is the buzz-word, the code name for "doing something that we can talk about".

The other day, I was standing in front of the frozen food machine housing overpriced fish products. A fellow frozen food shopper and I became involved in discussions about "fishin'". Near the end of our dialogue, he told me in the hushed honest tone, that only comes when you are close to frozen fish products for ten minutes, "I feel so bad sometimes" he said and genuinely looked sad, "when I go out there and there are so many experts, they know everything there is about where to go, which lure to use, which side of the boat....." That's when it struck me. It isn't the fish, its the talk.

Fishing stories by their nature are expandable, editable and embellishment is not only appreciated but it is encouraged.

So why do folks go on fishing trips. They go to load up on verbal ammunition for all future encounters that might involve conversation and discussions that might turn toward, "fishin'". The man I talked to at the frozen food machine was out of stories, and envied the experienced gabbers who had the lingo down, they had their stories sorted in terms of shock appeal, amazing appeal and one white knuckle short of "X-Files" ready. So bless them all, send each hardy fishing fanatic on his or her way with encouragement and good cheer, for they are setting forth to harvest words that they can bring back to you, words like bailing, oars, out of gas, wet to the bone, waves this high, mud to your armpits, .... Keep in mind they are doing this for us, those who do not go, as witnesses, there would be a need to confine oneself to some proximity to the actual event, but as an audience who did not share the situation, the creative gates can be opened, wonders, amusement and "no you don't say" can prime the fisherperson's verbal pump and a good time can be had by all.

Timothy W. Shire