Fishing in Public

by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley
by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley

Catch and release

Hey folks. You know, the hardest part of these columns to write has always been the beginning. You’ve got to really think about what you’re gonna say. However, this is gonna be an easy one, ’cause I want to start by thanking all the folks that have shown their kindness for my recent turmoil with the crazed mugger. You know who you are. It shows me not only how many folks read this column, but it shows me a generosity in spirit I just can’t get over. Many folks have offered me a new box.

Jesus, if this column stopped right here I’d be happy just getting that out. It’s really heartfelt.

Now I got that off my chest, let’s see if I might continue. Well, it is too early to fish. Hopefully a couple more weeks. Seeing’s how it’s too early, now’s the time I sort of consolidate the notes I’ve taken over the winter.

I know you’re tired of hearing about my seal troubles, but I do believe I’m gonna do battle with them pesky critters again this year. Damn — I toss a stone at one and he eats that! I’ll definitely change locations this year.

And, by the way, I’ve definitely decided on what they call the catch-and-release system. I’m really gonna do my part to save what little fish we have left. Now, I know just one person such as me won’t make much difference, but maybe it would catch on to other folks, which would eventually, perhaps, at least save some fishies. I read an article about the catch-and-release system in a fishing magazine that was five pages long and all it boiled down to was what I just said.

So back to the notes I took over the cold damn winter. This one’s about one of my favorite subjects: jellyfish. Box jellies. Since I last brought them up their numbers have grown by 80 percent, which is very bad. Did I mention to you folks that gettin’ stung by one of these bad boys means death is only maybe 90 seconds away? Yeah, they do in many folks a year. In the South Pacific, where box jellies hang out, folks bring vinegar swimming. It’s a natural antidote to them bad ol’ jellies.

They’re still mostly only found in places like the Sea of Japan — so far. But they are spreading. They’re after warm-water areas, so global warming ain’t helping nobody out, that’s for sure. You know they got 24 eyes? And yet, somehow, the scientists aren’t quite sure whether they can follow their prey. And what’s even weirder — they don’t got no brains.

One of the reasons I didn’t write a column last month is I have been ill quite often this winter. But it did give me a lot of opportunity to watch TV. Which mostly sucks, by the way. But I did try and catch all the fish shows. I’ve not discussed them much, ’cause mostly they suck. Like “Monster Fish,” I think it’s called. I call it my 20 milligram Valium. All the time I seen it I never saw him catch any monster. Who wants to see a show ’bout a fella rowing around with his pole and just talking you to sleep? Only good part is what you learn about the natives and the lives they lead.

Not all the fish shows are bad. There’s one about Alaska fishermen and salmon contests. Lots of action up there. You know, Alaska fish guys used to advertise in the Maine newspapers looking for workers. Guess we had quite the reputation, didn’t we? And the other day I seen how they make fishing line. It’s made of polyethylene, the same thing they use for bulletproof vests. A lot goes into it — more than I can explain here. But I’ll tell you they got a machine that pulls the line 118 lbs. strong. Course, that’s high-end line, but sounds worth it.

Lastly, I must mention my most important subject: the weather, or should I say the lack of it, which is to say lack of rain. If this keeps up — catastrophe. This has been the driest spring I can ever remember. I might give more thought to paying for a fishing license — gets much worse and there won’t be enough water to fish in.

I do wish we really could do dances to change that. I have heard they learned to somehow seed clouds and make it rain. What happened to that? How ’bout some rain before all our farms die and we’re paying $12 for a loaf of bread?

Hey, by the way, are some of you folks content? I ain’t swore at all, though I surely believe no rain and you’ll hear some language you’ll wish to forget. If you believe in rain dances or simply praying, best start now, ’cause it looks like doomsday is coming. Next month I’ll be writing about my fishin’ experience. You can look forward to that.

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