Fishing in Public


By "Tackle Box" Billy Kelley

Fishing for dummies

Boy, fish are dumb! 

That’s of great happiness to me, sitting here with my pal Michelle and reeling in mackerel like there’s no tomorrow. After what seemed an eternity of rainy days, we finally got smiled on by King Neptune and caught a glorious day of sunshine, so we’re making the most of it. We ended up with 25 mackerel, but let me start at the beginning…

First off, I thought I’d describe in detail just what kind of fish we’re trying to catch, so I strolled down to the library to do some investigative research only to discover, much to my dismay, that almost all the books I’d wanted to examine were in some warehouse. I assume it’s ’cause of the construction going on. There was only one book on Maine salt water fish, and not much information at that. I did learn, however, that mackerel are a member of the tuna family and Atlantic striped bass have seven stripes (I’d never counted).

Next on my agenda was to check out all the local fish pole stores in order to break my pattern of only going to The Tackle Shop on India Street and Walmart. Well, forget that, mister! 

It may anger some folks, but I’ll tell you right now you simply cannot beat The Tackle Shop for convenience and you simply can’t beat Wall-fart for prices. I’m talking mackerel poles for as low as $14 and striper poles for around $24. My pal Randy got a reel and all the fixin’s for around $30. See? Can’t beat them.

Now I’ll move on to the last item on my agenda, which was to sort of break in a new collaborator — hopefully female — by taking them on a day fishing expedition. This, by far, worked out the best. 

A day prior to our big excursion I went down to the State Pier to check out the action. And there was plenty of it, people hauling in fish at a fairly good clip, mostly using the tried-and-true bait-on-hook method. I managed to get six quick ones in about half an hour — more than most, actually, since I use a jig. 

But when I returned on Saturday, it was just too crowded for jigging, so it was back to the trestle, where there’s a much smaller crowd and a better chance for stripers.

On my way to the pier I had, however, made a couple of observations, the first being the look in guys’ eyes as Michelle and I trundled down through the Old Port. It’s a look that’s hard to describe, but I’ll call it envy, or maybe jealousy. 

Oh yeah, I catch the looks. And it’s not because I’m walking down the street with an attractive girl. Luckily, I do that often. No, it’s because I’m going fishing with a pretty girl and they wish to fuck it was them doing what I’m fortunate enough to be doing.

The thing is, they could be, too. And then I get to wondering: Is it because we’re so caught up in the rat race of our existence, the pressure of day-to-day life, the speed we operate at nowadays that taking a day off to relax and go fishing is so appealing? I do believe it is. You know, the simplicity, the plain easiness of just sitting on the water — it’s like therapy for the mind. To hell with the shrinks — go fishing!

So anyways, that brings me back to me and Michelle at the trestle with my three B’s: beer, bong and a broad (sorry, libbers!). I’m talking Belinda Carlisle “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” ’cause we’re having a ball. The sun, the fish, the people there — it’s all working in our favor. Hell, even the winos camped out in the bushes aren’t hitting us for change! 

An extra bonus is I’ve very much gotten over my pussy-chasing habits of yesteryear, so we don’t have to worry about that obstacle to having a good time. We’re happy and content to catch some rays, catch a buzz and catch some fish. All of which, like I’m telling ya, we do in abundance. Except one minor hitch: we don’t have any luck with the Atlantic striped bass.

I’ve got a theory for this. There are more herring this year than I can remember, so I do believe there’s just
so much food in the drink that the bass don’t need to munch on what they probably consider our second-rate bait. You know, like why have ground chuck when you’ve got tenderloin on the menu, right? Last time I checked, canned herring cost a lot more than canned mackerel.

Oh well, fish be damned, we have a good time and I still get a freezer full of macks — not the greatest, but still better than nothing. The day’s been a complete success. Like I always say, catching fish is actually secondary to having a good time. 

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