Fishing in Public

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

Tall ships and tough luck 

Hey folks. It’s finally a nice day for a change. I think the weather has been insufferable. I’m so happy I went out and got a new notepad to write on, which won’t mean much to you but it’ll make my editor happy.

You know, I’ve been thinking. I bet you folks think this gig is easy. I bet you think, “Oh, just go out on the pier, sit around, do some fishing, have a grand ol’ time and write about it.” It’s easy as pie, right?

Wrong. Let me tell you this: It’s difficult.

I started out this month with a couple of good ideas. The first is eels. I was curious how this elver system worked and thought maybe you might be also. As it happens, an ol’ buddy of mine happens to be in this biz. Oh great, says me, and I arrange to have him take me with him to get some of those little guys. Except the season has just ended two weeks prior. Well fuck, there goes that one.

But hey, now my good friend John calls from the Belfast area and as it turns out he’s just purchased a new sailboat and wants me to bring equipment to go deep-sea fishing. Now, I know you folks are going to love a tale of me doing some deep-sea fishing, right?

So I travel a 280-mile trip to go out on the deep sea sailing aboard my pal’s (almost, at least) yacht, only to get to Belfast and find that weekend is a fucking art show and we can’t get close to his boat. Of course, it was nice to see my pals and we all had a good time, but no story.

See what I mean, folks? This is not an easy task to perform.

So then, upon my return, my editor calls with more bad news: “Can you finish in four days? We’re going to press early this month.” Just what I wish to hear, right?

But then I notice my savior. The tall ships are heading this way! Boy, you don’t know what this means to a guy like me.

So on they come on Saturday, and I’m sick as a dog. Well, what the hey? I’ll go tomorrow. And I get up on Sunday and, sorry folks, but I’m pukin’ my guts out. Well, Monday I figger. But I get to the waterfront and I find if you want a good look at the tall ships you pay 15 dollars.

So then I get a great idea. I’m gonna stowaway on one of those square-riggers. My heart’s desire right ’fore my eyes! Even if I land in the hoosegow for a spell, well worth it for some time on my favorite boats. But this ain’t gonna happen. They got fence and security up the ying-yang.

Well, I did see some of the finest sights you’ll ever see. To be honest, most on shore. The girls were out of this world. I seen one girl, short skirt, sitting there — well, I best go no further as this is a family mag. But you get my drift. I kinda wish we had the tall ships here every week.

So you can see now writing is sometimes a disaster. But my month did end up real good. I got a date! Kinda. Ann Marie. And I like her. And then last night they had the annual block party. Oh boy, excellent entertainment! A guy by name of Pat Foley singing, and he done a great job in both song choices and singing, so I guess it’s not all such a disaster after all.

And by the way — still no fish. Now I hear there’s too much nitrogen in the upper Fore River. Pollution. Global warming. Seals. My pal the bus driver wants me to write about hunting bears. I’m thinking ’bout it. Or maybe I will manage to stowaway somehow. I hope.

And one last note. The girl who wrote the letter last month ’bout the guy who grabbed her purse? Well, what she said matched verbatim my description of the son-of-a-bitch who knocked me to the ground and grabbed my take-homes this spring. Same fucking guy. I know it. Got both of us.

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