So, you want to take me fishing.

Sure, we could do that, my friend. But before you set me up with worms and a bait bucket, you should probably have a talk with my old pal Keith. One-eyebrow Keith, they call him, on account of the unfortunate incident with a WildEye Spin Bait back in the day.

Or have a conversation with my former pal Royston, who walks kind of funny even today after the purely accidental mishap with the Hula Grub on the banks of the Kennebec River.

Talk to Randy about the weird, banana-shaped scar on his chin. Or to Rusty, who was the victim of the incident with the Jitterbug that was totally not my fault. It was a weird gust of wind. The sun was in my eyes. There must have been something wrong with one of those 12 or 14 Löwenbräus I drank to get through the trauma of impaling worms.

Fishing? Yeah, I’ll go fishing. It is a sport that requires calm, patience and a meditative precision, and let’s face it. That’s pretty much my wheelhouse.

You know, for the first five minutes. After that — after SIX WHOLE MINUTES OR MORE without seeing a single perch, bass or giant squid — I start getting restless. I become bored and impatient. Call me an oversized child, if you want, but I have never been one of those “it’s just nice to be outside” types who can sit on a rock for six hours staring at a bobber that doesn’t so much as twitch.


“But Mark,” said my old friend Scotty, shortly before the nasty affair with the Ugly Stik. “Fishing is all about communing with nature. It’s spiritual. It’s about connecting with the living world and finding peace, not only within the world but within yourself.”

It was a profound expression of love for the pastime and then BAM! A few seconds later, poor Scotty is facedown in the bait bucket and there is a three-pronged Rooster Tail lure sticking out of his hind parts. I don’t know what happened, I swear. I had been sitting calmly on that rock when it occurred to me that maybe the fish would be more apt to bite if I climbed a tree and cast from a high branch. I mean, that’s straight physics right there.

It would have worked, too, if not for the yellow jacket nest and the madness that followed. Long story short, Scotty ended up limping into the emergency room for a Rooster Tail extraction, and to this day his breath still smells like live bait.

Lack of patience with the rod tends to lead me to boredom-inspired convulsions of creativity, and goodness knows that’s always trouble. I’ll try casting with my left hand just to keep things interesting. I’ll splash around in the water and make fish sounds in hopes of luring prizewinners out of hiding. The things I’ve done with crankbaits are considered crimes in six U.S. states.

Have me along as a fishing companion and, at best, you’ll end up with a tangled line, busted reel, drowned tackle box and bait breath. Chances are equally good you’ll end up lacerated, impaled, contused, concussed, arrested and banned forever from lake water sports of all kinds.

My wife, who thoroughly enjoys angling, took me along once to her favorite fishing spot. I tried to enjoy it, I really did. I practiced patience and calm, and I achieved a level of meditative reflection that would have impressed the most-disciplined yogi.


You know. For the first five minutes.

ME: “I’m bored. There are no fish in this pond.”

WIFE: “We’ve only been here six minutes. Why don’t you just relax and try to. …”

ME: “Bet you I can climb this tree without any shoes on.”

WIFE: “Please don’t climb the tree. Just sit back and. …”

ME: “Hey! Is that a beaver? I think it is! I’m gonna swim out there and wrestle it!”


WIFE: “No! Put your clothes back on!”

She only got banned from that one lake, so I never understood why she got so mad about it.

Fishing is one of those things I enjoy as a concept. In my head, I see myself out there lazing on a warm rock under a summer sun. I’ve got my dungarees rolled to the knees, a blade of long grass clamped between my teeth and a hat festooned with fishing lures pulled down over my brow. In these happy daydreams, I can spend long hours becoming one with nature, and nobody gets pierced, punctured or otherwise deformed in life-altering ways.

Are the fish biting in my imagination? Who cares! Fishing is about communing with nature. About embracing the living world and connecting spiritually with the ways of our forefathers. Or something.

My old friend Rusty tried to explain it to me one time, but he’s got that missing lower lip due to the tragic incident with the hornpout.

Seriously, he only lost that one lip. I never understood why he got so mad about it.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. Don’t let him near your midge nymph.

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