Yesterday's Magazette

12 – Time For A Smile

Time For A Smile:

The Not Ready For Prime Time Fisherman

By Nicholas Campanella

I have always liked fishing. But sometimes you can like something only to find you’re not the best at it. I think fishing is a great thing. Living here in Arizona I don’t get to fish much. Unless I toss a few trout in the bathtub and run to Kmart and buy a pole.

As an angler, fish really like me. They don’t have to worry about getting hooked or injured. They’d get a good laugh at how a guy could spend twelve hours catching nothing. I imagine fish comparing my angling ability to my dating scene. I couldn’t catch a fish in a grocery store. Whenever someone asked about the one that got away, shamefully, my answer was “ All of them.”

When I was a young boy my dad taught me to fish. It was Tom’s River, New Jersey. I always wondered who Tom was and why he owned a river. You couldn’t build a house on a river. Maybe a houseboat. Would Tom advertise it as land front property when he sold his river?

Unlike Arizona, Tom’s River has water in it.

My father taught me to cast. Cast I did. I caught something right away. I caught my father.

I guess you should look behind you when you cast. He screamed loudly. My father did. When he was hooked. He should have known better than to start me out on a treble hook. After we got the hook out and the bleeding to stop he switched me to a single hook. That first day of fishing taught me why God gives father’s two eyes. They may be foolish enough to teach their kids to fish.

I cast again – to the sound of my father running down the pier away from me. I didn’t know he could run that fast. I caught nothing that day – but it was fun.

Some years later I received a heavy duty salt water rod. Then we moved to North Jersey, where there was only fresh water to fish in. Ever catch a bluegill on a surf rod? You stick a worm on the hook. Lower it in the water. Lift it up. “ Hey! There’s a fish on there!!” I bet it would be more exciting if the rod bent a little. But what the heck. I finally caught a fish.

The fresh water stream I fished in, sixty-five miles from Tom’s River, was called Tom’s Brook. Hey! Tom owned a brook too. This guy Tom – he’s got a whole monopoly on water courses.

I checked my oceans to see if Tom owned an ocean. He doesn’t – but I bet he has a gulf or a bay tucked away somewhere.

We moved to Florida eventually. Wow! There’s water everywhere. And lot’s of fish too. First thing I caught was a seagull. Accidentally. Hey – it’s not a fish, but it’s in the animal kingdom. That should count for something.

I didn’t catch much in Florida. I don’t have the knack for it. But it’s still fun. Safe for the fish too. No animal rights person will ever get on my back. That’s for sure. In Florida there is always that temptation to catch a really big fish. Like a shark. So I’d get a huge hook, mounted with a chunk of bloody meat and whip that baby out into the surf. Only to have a cop or a wildlife official tell me I can’t fish with that bloody meat at the beach where the people are swimming.

Right. Like I’m supposed to walk all the way down to the Inter-Coastal Waterway while all of the big sharks are at the buffet waiting for something to whip them into frenzy.

I have caught a fish or two, but like I said – I am not good at it. It is relaxing to fantasize, while sitting outdoors, at a large body of water, that I could be a great angler like those guys in Field and Stream. But it is not to be. I’d stand a better chance of waiting for a fish to die of old age, than to think one would ever go for my bait. And it is good that the fish have something to laugh at.

This is true. Once, while fishing at Gandy Bridge in Tampa, Florida a fish actually jumped over my fishing pole. I had been sitting there for hours without a single nibble and this fish jumps over my fishing pole. I bet that fish laughed so hard oxygen came out his nose.

*Author Nick Campanella lives in Arizona where he enjoys writing with a truly original style. He is the author of two novels, Traglamoor’s Journey and Room For Madness, and many short stories and articles.

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