Recently sitting in a dinner I overheard a couple at the next table talking. If looks could kill, staring through him, she said; all of you blankety blank fishermen are liars! He responded; Yea, we may exaggerate or embellish every now and then. You can say we are prone to telling a tall tale but, lying? Isn’t that’s a bit harsh. I don’t think she was talking about fishing.
Then it occurred to me, do all that fish exaggerate or do only the most portentous of the gentle art of fishing / fly-fishing find it in their oral vernacular or syntax of written words? Some, without a doubt, truly have a gift for storytelling with the savvy ability to make a story great, time and time again, by ever so slightly changing details to avoid chagrin and bring smiles, laugher, tears, pats on the back, and nodding heads in agreement.
After all, isn’t it the prerogative of the storyteller to slightly embellish on occasion to enhance in order to entertain? Perhaps there is a need to, especially when telling the truth only brings stares of boredom, yawning and folks injured falling off chairs. When an account of events is in need, to keep you awake, don’t you think that it’s better to be considerately creative. After all we don’t want anyone getting hurt during story-time.
Oh, what webs of sensationalistic methods have been woven from the first time a Neanderthal fisherman grunted. Catch anything? How big? Take for example the excited individual that reaches out, with extended arms and shaking hands, showing you the length of his 12inch trout. Quite often his hands continue to drift further apart the longer he talks. Until he reaches so far that he pokes the guy standing beside him in the eye. Hay watch it. How about the angler, never to be outdone, only fishes on days that the trout are biting and all are 18inch or better. Or that fellow in the fishing club, so and so, that knows everything about anything where to go, when to go, water conditions, best fishing locations, where the fish are holding, the go to flies, which knot holds best, etc., etc., etc., but, never sees water or gets his feet wet, except in the shower. Then there’s the angler endowed with the uncanny ability of an (IGFA) calibrated certifiable scale. Question asked; did you weigh it? Didn’t need to - I knew it was just over 4lbs 3&1/3oz! Heck the picture alone weighs 3lbs.
Have you ever told or heard the story of the fish that got away? Really, is there anyone out there that hasn’t? Isn’t it peculiar that every fish, well almost every fish, which manages to get away, is / was the fish of the day. It was da, da, da big! I know! I felt it! It was pulling so hard and shaking its head! Without a doubt, I really lost a good one!
Regardless of the size of the fish isn’t this a bit of a stretch? Sr. Izaak Walton, the author of The Complete Angler wrote, “A man cannot lose what he never had.”
Well, as for me. I’ve been told that I am an astute fisherman. Learning from others and applying new skill. How about you? Come on now, you can hold that fish out a bit further and closer to the camera? I can still see your elbows. There that’s better - I got it 👍.
Go out there and have a huge day and when you get home, don’t forget, share a good story. Truth be told!
(The Obstinate Fly Fisherman)