Bob ran into me at the coffee pot today and was telling me about his vacation a couple of weeks ago. Excitement, no doubt!
“Man I had the vacation of a life time.” Bob said. “One of those theme places you see on late night television commercials.” He paused to take a breath. Personally, those theme vacation ideas are a bit over the top for me, but I listened politely.
“The theme of this place was “Life at the Lake House”. It was very authentic.” He smiled with his eyebrows waving up and down like someone passing on a winning stock tip. “It was a small lake, about 17 acres, and stocked with all kinds of fish, pan fish, bass, pike, and the like.” His stare began to range out over my shoulder as if he could see it from here. “They had this rule about the fish, you could catch all of them that you wanted, but you had to throw them back, except for the pan fish. They let us keep the pan fish, only charged us a small fee to clean them.” I was momentarily distracted by Bob’s apparent lack of fishing terminology, being a bit of an addict of the activity myself, I thought a quick straightening of his lingo was in order, but reconsidered when I heard of an infraction by the theme resort and had to inquire further.
“You mean to tell me they charge you to clean your fish? I clean all my fish for free!” I admonished.
They owners claimed that the bluegill would over populate the small lake and eventually eat the eggs of the bigger bass and pike, so they provide the service for free. But once we learned how to clean them, it was well worth the price to do them myself.” He said this with the air of someone who had always known this type of information, like he has been fishing this place all his life. I allowed myself a grin, knowing better.
“The bass were huge!” He exclaimed. I had been a fisherman since childhood, so I baited him, curious as to what he thought was a big bass. “How big were they?” I asked. “I caught a couple of 20 inchers.” He said. I hoped he hadn’t noticed my eyes bugging out when he mentioned this.” Suddenly I was hooked, and began to listen a little more intently. “Yeah?” I began. Preparing to drill him for more serious information. “What were you using for bait?” I asked. Curious what type of fisherman he was. “Well” He began. Knowing Bob, and his “Wells”, he was about to go deep into the subject. “They had wax worms, and crawlers; if we wanted to use live bait, some crickets, too. They had Spinners, popper, flies, and streamers.” He continued. “And a wide assortment of rubber worms, crayfish, ugly creepy things, and frogs.”
His use of the word “rubber” made me cringe, after all the real fishermen knew them to be grouped under the term, “Plastics”. This slip up instantly showed him to be an amateur. Again, I allowed myself a grin, this one self-righteous, knowing I was an advanced fisherman compared to him. “My favorite was the rubber frog,” He continued. With an oversized hook…” I was about to correct his usage of “oversized”, we REAL fishermen preferred to use the exact hook size AND type. But I began to feel unnerved at the thought of a couple twenty-inch bass being unceremoniously cranked through the water and ripped through the weeds and Lilly pads then flopped on shore inspected by someone who doesn’t truly appreciate a big fish. After all, big fish are earned by hard work and learning, not a carnival prize for popping a balloon with a dart.
“How did you fish it? I asked. Now irritated, but curious, just in case I stumbled upon a 17 acre lake up north. “Well, I ran the hook through the rubber frog and stuck the hook back into the frogs curly foot so that it wouldn’t get all caught up in the weeds.” Ahhhhhhh!!! I screamed in my head. There is a simple name that, once mentioned, defines everything he just said into a simple couple words. His layman attitude toward this solemn fishing business was seriously irritating me. I couldn’t hold back any longer, or I was going to have a big-time melt down. “I think they call that Texas-rigging your plastic.” I offered. Hoping to educate this Neanderthal. “Whatever.” He said.
My eyes rolled back into my head as he continued his diatribe about how he got to mow the lawn on the property for an added extra fee of only $50.00, and doing some painting of the trim for another $50.00. He even went so far as to talk about the dish washing fee, which was another $50.00 if he wanted to do it himself, but he couldn’t bring himself to performing that luxury, when he knew there were more fish to catch.
I could hardly stand another word from this blowhard, this recreational fisher at best, who flicks his nose at the real fishermen. I was just about to turn on my heel and walk off in a huff when He said.
“Then I made the most beautiful cast since being there, and after pausing at a lily pad was slammed by a monster. He started tearing out the line until I was about out, so I hoped into the canoe and followed him to a beaver dam until I pulled in the beast. Clearly, this was biggest one I caught. He measured 29 and a few itty-bitty marks on the old measuring tape.” He said with a grin.
Without a thought of the itty-bitty marks statement, I managed to ask the important question.
“What was the name of this place?” I asked. The pen and paper magically appearing into my hand, suddenly interested. And tell me again about the lawn-mowing fee? It sounds well worth the money.
For a tip to a monster bass, I was able to learn the true lesson of fishing…patiences.