My Fish Guru


You probably won’t expect my story to start out this way but it does…

I once met this skunk. I never met his mom, he has no name to speak, I don’t own a photo of him for my family album however he did impact my life. He was your basic peppie-le-pew skunk with the typical white stripe right down his back. How we met is not as important as the relationship we developed over time.  He was nothing more than an black and white chipmunk. To call him tiny is actually an exaggeration. His tail was probably about the size of my thumb – only much more fuzzy. The first time I saw that little tail barely peek above a few blades of grass I was stunned. I was a little spooked as well. I had no clue if at such a young age if he had a batch of skunk oil in him. Or is it more pronounced like the tiny rattlesnakes actually have a more potent sting? Once again, my ignorance sets me up for trouble. However unpleasant we built a relationship.

I would sit on the dock and fish and he would sun himself on a rock and watch me. I’m not sure if he picked up any pointers but usually I’d pull something in. If it was small – mostly a tiny small mouthed bass I would toss it up on shore. He would promptly stop sunning himself and wander over and drag it into the woods as quickly as he could – just in case I changed my mind.

I like bass, even the little ones, because they have moxie. I’ll drop a two inch lure on the end of my line and without question I’d find a three inch bass on it. These little guys saved my hind end more times than I could count. Because here’s the scoop; Mr. Mini-Skunk would not let me off the dock until I dropped something his way. He would land lock me on that dock and prance back and forth if I tried to leave without handing him a fish. I know it’s commonly quoted that fishing is low pressure and that’s why they call it fishing and not catching. Okay, okay until you toss a hungry skunk into the story. Then fishing better be catching.

If Ranger Rick knew of his blackmailing ways or that I was pulling up these little fish and tossing it to the little guy on shore, I imagine I’d be doling out a bit of cash on a ticket and it would be accompanied by a long lecture on feeding wildlife. But luckily for me Mr. Mini-Skunk isn’t much of a talker – just a stalker.

You’d think that I’d decide to choose a different hobby or at bare minimum a new fishing spot. But I couldn’t. As anyone who’d been bitten by that particular bug would attest you never walk away from a good fishing hole.

So instead of changing my daily routine I just stocked up on tomato juice. I picked up a case over at the local market and considered myself good.

So daily, I’d go, and fishing which usually is a low stress low pressure activity turned into a job. The pressure forced me to try just about everything and thus I learned the waters. I learned that these fish will giggle at a worm and laugh out loud at spinners. In a nutshell a more aggressive fishing technique was necessary. I eventually got that a lure with black was more likely to dig up a walleye – usually about eighteen inches long. I found that most fishing tackle is built to lure a fisherman and not the fish. Especially walleye lures, my suggestion is if you go and pick one up, run it on your pole for a few minutes to see how cool it looks running through the water and then throw the damn thing away.

I like fishing walleye because they fight like no ones business, even the little ones, they are naturally aggressive so they also grabbed a lure and thus, saved me for another day. It was more important to feed the danged skunk than myself because spending three days trying to clean skunk oil out of my hair didn’t sound like a good weekend. “However,” my mind would muse, sitting on the dock getting yet another sunburn, “I wonder if fish are attracted to skunk oil… well, there’s a trick I haven’t tried.”

Trout are a huge pain the hind end. Uggggg….. I’ve caught a few nice rainbow trout over here and once a bull trout. These fellows over here jump straight out of the water and there is space between them and the surface of the water that would rival any basketball star. They are master thief’s and rip off lure after lure. Once they bolt out of the water they also give you that frustrating glimpse of their bodies which is probably something close to twenty inches but by Lord they look thirty.  They fight dirty – and now I understood why the wise Indians just caught them and salmon in baskets as they jumped down the falls. There were many a time when I thought to invest in baskets or better yet, dynamite but could not think of one good excuse to tell Ranger Rick. (If anyone out there comes up with a good one please fill me in.)

On one bored day and I tied two treble hooks to a stick of dynomite but figured, sadly in the end, I could not pull it off.

I was raised with four brothers – and each one of them has a special trick for trout. My theory? Rainbow trout are prone to depression. They decide to stay on your line when they are feeling suicidal otherwise your their game. They cut your line and then wander back down, one fish says to the other, “Oh good one, you pulled off just about the time there was a glimmer of hope on her face. Perfect timing!” They giggle their asses off and then go and have whatever the underwater version of a cold and frosty beer is.

There is an end to this story. It’s called carp. The carp over here are huge. My husband says there is only one good way to cook carp. You fillet him, put him on a board, add lemon juice, salt and pepper for taste – roast him at 425 degrees in the oven. Then you throw the fish in the trash and eat the board. One day I suddenly was sure that I had a pretty large log on my line. I’m cursing because here I go losing another good lure. Luckily the only one to hear my truck driver language was the skunk and he didn’t seem to mind. He just kept sunning himself on his rock blissfully aware that breakfast was coming soon. And suddenly I see probably the biggest fish I’ve ever pulled up – except my mind had to clean itself a bit because the thing was a eye blasting orange. And up comes this carp about three feet long and as fat as they come. I had caught his belly with my lure and he just stupidly came up the shore because something was urging him in that direction. I pulled him out of the water and was getting ready to throw him back when I glanced at the skunk – and yep, I tossed it on shore.

So this little excuse of a fuzz ball ever so slowly drags off this fish. Once again I’m impressed with this tiny guy and his determination to get his fish. Why this guy has no pride, he’ll land lock a lady on a dock, he’ll twitch his tail if she attempts to leave and he’ll manage to drag off a fish about twenty times his size if all of these actions boil down to breakfast. And once again I think that I need to invest in sunblock while the sun is burning on my face. Until the skunk was far enough away for me to squeeze by him. And I never saw the skunk again. I guess they don’t like carp either or he didn’t have a good fish board. Anyway I gathered that he didn’t much like the way the menu changed and went to harass some other guy or gal just attempting to master the fine art of fishing. In my opinion he had a sweet deal with me and probably regrets his decision.

Now I grew up around a whole group of fisherman – my brother Kevin is extreamly talented in this area however, as of yet I have to say no one taught me as much as a hungry skunk. It’s not if the skunk actively taught me anything – but he inactively just about everything {or at least everything that mattered to pull in the fish.} He taught me the waters, the fish and the urge for the walleye to spawn on sandy banks. Thus he earned the title guru. The literal definition after all is “removes the darkness of ignorance.” And ignorant of fishing I was.

There is a word in Sanskrit. It’s called Dukka. Much is learned from Dukka – especially if your dukka is a hungry skunk. It gets you learning that’s all I have to say.


2 Responses to “My Fish Guru”

  1. 1 montucky

    That was a thoroughly enjoyable story! I can’t say that I’ve ever had a fishing lesson from s hungry skunk, but I’ve had a couple from Ospreys and eagles. The skunk, at least is an excellent excuse though. Maybe I’kk have to try it!

  2. Think I could have tamed him/her if given enough time and a tad bit of courage?… I blame the carp. (Okay, okay and the lack of courage…) Thanks for stopping by.

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