Fishing in Public

by "Tackle Box" Billy Kelley


Hey folks! Listen up, OK? I’ve got three different items to talk about this issue. And perhaps a couple of minor things to throw in. So pay attention.

First, the weather. Not so nice, huh? But it’s actually a lot better here than the rest of the country, ain’t it? Christ, they’re still finding bodies out in the Midwest. Pretty darn sad, I’d say. We should count our blessings, really. Tornadoes. We don’t have them here. You ever been in one? Scares the fuckin’ Lord Jesus out of you. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Our weather ain’t been great for fishing, though. Cold rain, cold rain, day after day. Tiresome, really, and it keeps the water too cold. It’s still 46 degrees. At least 54 degrees is what we want. But it is getting warmer.

Now, since we’re still waiting for this magical time when we’ll be hauling in all our macks and stripers, let me talk about another thing. Oddly enough, the day I happened to say to my editor, “Hey, I’d like to write about one day each month that pertains to fishing and history,” I swear to fuck the very next day they nail bin Laden. I’m like, “Well, I guess I found that day!”

Now, in the old days, they always had a way of doing things. And one of them was, if somebody croaked on the ship, toss ’em over. You can’t really blame ’em, can you? I mean, who wants to truck around with a lot of stinkin’ stiffs on the boat?

So you knew the funeral arrangements as soon as you boarded. And the arrangements were different depending on your status. If you were like, say, an admiral or an important captain, you got some kind of respectful going-away ceremony. Like Horatio Nelson. He was a big-time British Lord of the Sea. When he bit the bullet he got royal treatment. They sent him back to Britain in a cask of brandy. (Cask, casket — see?)

That’s how the big-times got treated. But the old regulars — you know, seamen and such — well, off you go into the drink! You died at sea, you’re buried at sea. How they done it was just quickly slide you over the side of the boat and “see ya later, alligator!”

This most common of practices started to change eventually. Thank the Industrial Age. Some genius came up with the idea of refrigeration, and now everyone could have their burial postponed till they got to shore.

Course, it did take a while for all the boats to get equipped with a meat cooler. I say it like that as a lot of times the food locker doubled as a morgue. Funny, huh? I wonder how many mishaps there might have been. I bet there was a lot of explaining to do.

Nowadays, obviously, a lot less people are buried at sea. It’s much safer now than it was in the past. Unless, of course, your name is Osama bin Laden. Then, well, you’re gonna meet ol’ King Neptune himself.

Here comes the good part: we actually should all give a word of thanks to bin Laden.

OK, you’re thinking, why is this nut saying this about the worst terrorist in a really long time? I’ll tell you…

The bottom of the deep blue sea consists of a lot of live things that we can’t see or even imagine — that is, without Animal Planet or the good ol’ Science Channel. These TV stations have sent down cameras or followed others to the ocean depths and found some interesting things. One of these was certainly a special kind of sponge.

Say you throw an old baloney sandwich into the ocean. What happens is it gets eaten on its descent to the ocean depths, maybe as much as two or three times. You know, a fish eats the baloney, another fish eats him — whatever. It all filters down somehow till it eventually turns into some kind of bacteria that ends up digested through the cells of a hungry sponge. And this sponge converts this bacteria into something called discodermolide, which is now being used to treat cancer.

So let’s do the math. OK, one senior terrorist nut equals a few sponges, maybe to be used in the fight against cancer. I don’t know about you folks, but I say, “You got anymore terrorists out there? Hell, let’s rack up more of them and bury them all at sea!”

I’m sure they buried Osama at sea for other reasons than feeding marine life. Kind of had to, didn’t they? In the old days when they did this deed they would throw in three cannonballs to make sure they went to the bottom of Davy Jones’ Locker. I don’t know what they use in modern days, but there’s damn sure plenty of room down there.

Lastly, let’s discuss our fishing at the pier this season. I suppose I gotta go down and get some kind of license and such now. Can’t you just see the game warden showing up at the Maine State Pier to check everyone’s papers? It’s not right. I can’t seem to decide what to do. I like to be legal, but …