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Improve fishing? Bring it indoors, get rid of lines


It had been nearly 20 years since I last went fishing and now I know why.

I am not the world's worst fisherman. That would be an insult to the world's worst fisherman.

I am the worst of the worst.

The cream of the cream.

The poster child for how not to fish.

It started out as a valiant effort last Friday after work. Luke, our photographer, was heading to the Upper Lake for a few leisurely hours of fishing. I asked to join him.

It was a brisk 50-degree afternoon by the lake. The winds were Herculean, shoving my 160-pound frame around the banks like it was a defensive tackle and I was the punter.

The last time I went fishing I was about 5 years old. The rod was essentially a twig with 4 feet of line attached to it with a corn kernel or ball of white bread stuck to the hook.

Friday, we used actual rods.

Well, Luke did. I attempted to.

After 30 minutes of fishing, I might have successfully casted four times. Successfully, of course, meaning the line didn't get tangled into oblivion and actually found its way into the water.

Each time my left arm swung back as I prepared to toss line into lake and snag that proverbial fish, I noticed Luke creeping farther and farther away.

With each cast, my patience grew thinner and my zest for fishing faded like a pair of well-worn blue jeans.

All I wanted to do was snag one measly fish.

All I caught was dirt and grass and slime.

I swear, I saw one of those

damn trout stick its tongue out at me.

After another 30 fishless minutes, I was ready to give up. The thrill of casting was gone after my line became so knotted, it looked like a giant Boy Scout project.

And then Luke took out the worms.

We'll just put one on the hook and let the rod sit there, he said.

He did. And there it sat. Doing and catching nothing

I must be a jinx. My cologne must be fish repellent.

I bet they're swimming around that lake right now, whooping it up about the guy who couldn't outsmart a fish.

We moved on to the Lower Lake. I couldn't feel my hands and was getting increasingly frustrated with this whole casting thing.

Luke caught and threw back a half-dozen fish.

I slept in the car.

To be honest, I'd love to try it again fishing, that is, not sleeping. But it had better be at least 70 degrees and the wind better take a little break.

Besides, it can't be that hard. I should be able to catch at least one fish.

Maybe you'll soon see me on that TV show, "Bassmasters." Or perhaps featured on the cover of Fish and Wildlife Magazine, assuming that is a magazine.

I can see it now: a full-color spread of me on the banks of the Upper Lake, rod in hand, tackle box by my side and 500 yards of fishing line wrapped around my head.


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