American Humor: A Beginning Fisherman Ruins the Fishing Trip

The Last Laugh column shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted American humor. Joe Novara shares his story of how a beginning fisherman ruins the fishing trip and sinks the boat in the process.

| October/November 1997

The Last Laugh shares MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader submitted American humor with other readers. Joe Novara tells his tale of how a beginning fisherman ruins the fishing trip for his expert fishing buddy. All the fishing basics, plus tips on sinking gracefully. 

I showed my buddy, Spalding, my brand new K-Mart fly rod. Being a man of quiet enthusiasms and gentle opinions, he offered his glowing support by mumbling comparisons to concrete re-rods and clothesline poles. He took me into the backyard and explained about "firm wrist," "back cast," "loading the rod," "snapping to 12:00," and other arcane wisdom. I sucked in the jargon like a camel at an oasis.

We were down in the dirt drawing clock faces, Spalding explaining how the big hand is on the twelve, when his neighbor Ernold came by to ask what we were fishing for in the backyard. It seems Ernold was a little suspicious since he was the kind of fisherman who used bait to catch his Sunfish (not like us classic purists) and planted the fish guts in his tomato garden. Incidentally, he had the biggest tomatoes I have ever seen. I tried some in a salad once, and my wife, who can't stand anchovies, got memorably sick. My cat Zambo loves them though.

So Ernold leaned over the fence to watch me and Spalding snap the fly line between telephone wires and Hollyhocks. "What you want to do that for?"

"We're fly fishing," I said. "Funny way to catch flies," he said. "Joe's trying to hit that sleeping cat over there," Spalding said. "I'm teachin' him cat fishing."

It didn't take long before my enthusiasm for the sport infected Spalding. In fact, despite his suddenly looking a little off his feed, he offered to take me out to his favorite pond and initiate me into the joys of fly fishing. I had a hard time imagining casting, let alone sitting in Spalding's two man inflatable raft, so I went home and sat in my son Smirnoff's (named after the vodka toot that preceded his inauguration) plastic wading pool to practice casting. I was getting pretty handy with my K-Mart special when I tried to tickle my wife's left earlobe as she was weeding. The salesman at K-Mart kept shaking his head wondering what kind of fanatic I was to have worn out a Number 7, double headed, floating fly line in one day. He didn't realize what pruning shears can do to a line's floatability.

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