Fishermen are known liars, this is a fact. This is so true that when some one is telling a whopper, you may call it a
“fish story”, a whopper is also a term for species of giant fish that mainly inhabits imagination land. It’s kind of odd now that I think about it that our mom doesn’t fish.
Nowhere on earth are the lies thicker or more bald-faced than inside a tackle shop, the natural habitat of fishermen who are not fishing. The only time lies get thicker or more outrageous is when a wife discovers an unexplained new rod and reel, or god help you an unexplained boat in the driveway. Fishermen love to lie, and to be lied to, it’s a weird relationship born of a sport based on optimism. The only people more gullible and desperate are gambling addicts… a lot of whom like to fish I’ve been told.
Call up any tackle shop right now and ask about the quality of fishing at the body of water closest to them. Here is a quick translation guide: TS means you guessed it, Tackle Shop, Reality will represent reality.
TS: “Oh it’s just been fantastic, best season in years”
Reality: Someone has documented proof of a fish of edible size being landed with at least one credible (I.E. Not a fisherman/woman) witness to the event.
TS: “It’s been average, no record breakers but plenty of people catching em”
Reality: Some kid caught a perch by the rental dock.
TS: “It’s improving, and I think Fish and Game just re-stocked the lake on Tuesday!”
Reality: I hope you didn’t read the story about the six train cars of mercury and cyanide that crashed into the lake on Tuesday.
You can’t blame the tackle shop guys really, I mean they are just fishermen and are trying to drum up business so they can afford to fish, but it does get painful at times.
Last year I was working near a lake for a month, so of course I brought all my fishing stuff along for the ride. And like the gullible sucker I am I wander into the little tackle shop that serves the lake.
“Howdy” I say as the white bearded proprietor looks up from a fly tying desk in the corner.
“Hey there, welcome and let me know if I can do anything fer ya… name’s Jimbo!” He says.
He has sized me up already and mentally raised the prices of all the flies by fifty cents. Why oh why did I wear an Orvis T-shirt? It’s a dead giveaway.
“How’s the fishing been?” I ask like a deer wandering up to a feeding station in hunting season.
“Fantastic, the big trout derby on the lake is going to be a close one this year!” He says.
We look at each other briefly, opening with that level of lie has tipped his hand, we both know he went to far and he begins to distract me hoping to save himself. It is the delicate game one plays in the tackle shop.
“Course you look like the kinda fella who would be more interested in the fly fishing on the creek” Stupid Orvis shirt.
“Heck yeah” I say falling blissfully back in the snake charmers spell. “What flies are working this time of year?”
“What did you bring?” He asked innocently enough.
“Some Caddis, Royal Wulff, Parachute Addams, Wooly Buggers, some nymphs, the usual” I say not a little proud of my selection.
“None of them are working… now let me show you these little beauties here that I just tied up. I’ll give you a deal on em too” The veteran huckster starts filling up a fly box for me.
“Now what about the lake? If you’re going to go out on the lake I can give you an excellent setup, might even get yerself a Kokanee salmon.” He waits to see if I’ll bite.
I’ve been fishing for over thirty years and every high mountain lake in California says that they have Kokanee salmon. I’ve never seen one in my life, as far as I know it’s is an old Native American word for Unicorn. “Kokanee??? That’s awesome” I say my eyes wide with naivety.
“Yep what you need is this here deep water flasher set, because due to the warm temperature all the fish are sitting on the bottom of the lake” He explains this to me as I sit nervously like a ten year old me with my allowance burning a hole in my pocket.
I walk out of the store feeling completely validated and can’t wait to stop by later and show him a picture of my record-breaking Kokanee salmon. What’s a few hundred dollars in new tackle between buddies. Later while trolling the lake with my new deep water set up and not catching anything I watch eagles picking large trout off the surface.
I think to myself “Hmmm, maybe I need a shallow water rig, I bet Jimbo could recommend one” “I’ll have to stop by and let him know he made a mistake about the trout being deep.”
I get a phone call later from my wife asking about some outrageous credit card charge at a some place called Jimbo’s Fishing Hut.
Have a great weekend everybody, MILK and Whiskey are going fishing.