Fishing in Public

by "Tackle Box" Billy Kelley

End of the season

Well, folks, this concludes another season of fishing. And like I’ve said ad nauseam, it was one of the best seasons in years.

Why is that? I wonder. Have we finally cleaned the water enough to actually make a difference in the fish population? Or is it the weather? It’s some coincidence that the weather was also the best we’ve had in years. Maybe, as in all fishing, it was pure luck.

But it’s over now, and I can’t write about fishing expeditions when there’s no fish. So I’ll leave you with some thoughts and opinions.

First off, many of you folks are new to the sport. I advise you to read a book titled Fishing by a guy named John Bailey. It’s part of the Superguides series. My good pal Tyler borrowed it from his school library and I borrowed it from him and found it to be a great book on the art of fishing. And there’s plenty of good pictures to help you learn a thing or two.

Next on the agenda: the fish markets of Portland. I figured since we can’t hook ’em, I’d recommend places to buy ’em, so I dragged Diane to every fish market in the city. I’d intended to grade each market we went to, but believe it or not, there ain’t that many fish markets here — not retail, at least. Plenty of wholesale.

As far as selection and quality, sorry, you other folks, but Harbor Fish wins hands down. As for lobsters, I didn’t even go there. But shopping for a fish dinner — well, I didn’t see anyone else come close to Harbor Fish. They’ve definitely got the biggest spread, and no one bribed me to say that. No one even knew what I was up to, for that matter.

Next up: 71 cruise ship this year. Holy moly! Does that number convince anyone just how beautiful our waterfront is? Its inherent value? Portland’s waterfront is sometimes not taken seriously enough. I think Commercial Street should have its own elected official on the City Council. We are sitting on some of the best real estate in the world. Anyone hear me out there?

Next on the agenda: Is there still anyone skeptical of the theory of global warming? The commercial fishermen are going out year-round these days — couldn’t have done that years ago. Christ, I remember my parents telling me about walking to Peaks Island. And I remember seeing ice-breakers in the harbor. We don’t see that no more, do we? I think anyone who doesn’t adhere to global warming theory is not a skeptic but a retard.

Next, I must bid a very sad farewell to my co-captain, Michelle. She’s moved so far away that, alas, the team is done. She’s going to be missed a lot by not just me, but by all who knew her. What’s that French word, esprit? That’s what Michelle has.

This leaves me with one last thing to talk about: your goddamned manners, or lack of manners. So many of you behave so rude it makes me sick. I feel like a grammar school teacher dealing with little kids. You inconsiderate fucks ought to be ashamed. I know there is always going to be a certain amount of people — mainly young thugs and the like — that are going to behave rudely and stupidly. You know the type: They’ll loiter around, get in your way and think they’re cool.

Of course, they’re not. They’re assholes. But lately I’ve seen poor pedestrian behavior from people that should know better. You know exactly who you are.

I’ll tell you why I bring this up. If you think it’s hard walking down the street just regular, try it with fishing tackle and poles. It’s getting to be quite an ordeal. It’s very difficult to get by a cadre of females yakking on their cell phones. I’m busy trying not to knock folks in the head with a six- or seven-foot pole.

You know, when I was a young lad growing up, we had unwritten rules. You walked on the right. You didn’t drive folks off the sidewalk with a bike. You let women go first. Call me old fashioned, call me a sexist pig, but I do think they were good rules. Can’t we go back to that?