Inspired by the work of Patrick Mcmanus, here is a humorous glossary of fishing terms as defined and exaggerated by fond memories collected over years of family trips.
Bug Spray: A mythological substance provided to Wal-Mart out of an unmarked van at the Canadian border claiming to keep away all members of the mosquito family, but which in fact does nothing of the sort and is actually a spray bottle filled with "snake oil."
Bar Soap: Slick lumps cleverly disguised as river rocks lying in wait for your inevitable boot in order to ceremoniously dump you in the drink. This phenomenon is referred to as the stream sit by fishermen in which they who have fallen prey to the ploy of the bar soap attempt to convince their buddies that they, "meant to do that."
First Water: The first fisherman on the river to perform the stream sit or its more flamboyant relative the cold water cannonball, which typically involves the whole body and is often accompanied by the loss of at least one bag of trout hooks or a half dozen Slim Jims (whichever is more important to the fisherman at the time of water entry).
*Note: you will never be wearing quick-dry fishing gear at this time
Willows: A race of anthropomorphic trees who have dedicated their existence to harassing fishermen, snagging their spinners, and denying them access to the best trout pools.
Crunch: A generic term used to describe any manner of food sustenance while fishing. This may include smashed granola bars or apples. Additionally, it is the sound your only pair of sunglasses makes when you sit on them.
Baby Backpack: A child carrying device exhibited as evidence to prove that no one is too little to learn how to fish. This is often loudly disputed by said child precisely at the moment the diaper bag is dropped and begins to float downstream.
Game Warden: An elusive creature who only appears on the one day you forgot your permit in the pickup and also during the moment when you accidentally gut-hook a trout in the "catch and release only" portion of the river.
The Perfect Cast: A brief glimmer of triumph , skill, and luck which thus ensures that the spinner will not turn properly and therefore attract not a single fish.
One More Pool: A lie the fisherman repeats to himself that precedes the end of fishing for the day. This has been shown to extend stream time by up to an hour much to the dismay of the fisherman's buddies, who have already assembled at the agreed upon rendezvous point. When pressed for an explanation, the fisherman will often resort to a number of excuses and diversion techniques stored in his arsenal including, but not limited to: "my line got tangled," "I didn't know how late it was," and "lo siento, no hablo ingles."
Trout Kwon Do: A rare martial arts discipline invented by Bruce Lee and performed solely by cranky rainbow trout once they are reeled in and hook extraction has begun. Experts have likened the experience to trying to recapture a soapy toddler who has escaped the bathtub while he repeatedly smacks you with a fly swatter.
Zebconites: A tribe of nomads generally avoided by members of the decidedly snobby Stream Fishing Purists and so named because of their devotion to closed-reel Zebco fishing rods. Their camps are located near the riverbank and are marked by tents, loud music, and are guarded by yapping toy poodles. They are led by a high priest who oversees the site while sitting in a folding chair and wearing a wife beater.
Cell Phone Protector: The plastic Ziploc bag you forgot to bring in order to keep your fishing license and cell phone dry, in which case you say your prayers as you hurriedly snap iphone shots of your catch (to prove to your buddies that you weren't fibbing) while desperately hoping not to baptize your phone in the stream.
Resurrection: The glorious moment when your hand emerges half frozen from the water having successfully retrieved whatever item you dropped.
*Note: Cell phones may be resurrected but unfortunately never revived.
Fly Fishing: An art form which involves huge graceful casts of the line that swoop back and forth portraying the fisherman as a kind of trout stream Oprah who knows exactly what he is doing and who graces onlookers with both amusing and pensive expressions.
*Note: no actual success is needed in order for the illusion to become complete. A simple mastery of the motions will suffice in order to convince an audience that you are indeed Kenobi reincarnated wielding "an elegant weapon from a more civilized time," and not performing an exorcism with your rod.
Exorcism: What you appear to be doing as you wield your pole like a Scottish claymore and attempt to huck your lure out into the deep water with a two-fisted fling and a breathless grunt all the while cursing your old fishing line.
Snag: Any and all forms of tangled line or trapped lures that take place during or after the casting process. Excessive snagging has been linked to hikes in blood pressure often leading to anger which later dwindles into a fuming sulk. It can be somewhat effectively treated by a bag of Haribo gummy bears.
Primogeniture: The point at which the fisherman's son takes his father's place as king. In this his powers are passed on to his firstborn son, who then proceeds to outfish his father on all future fishing expeditions. This causes the fisherman to become at once proud and outraged.
Duck And Cover: What you do when a snagged lure comes unexpectedly free and becomes a tri-barbed boomerang rocketing back towards your face. This often results in the embarrassment of the hindquarter hook.
Hindquarter Hook: When a rogue lure flies through the air and buries itself in one's unprotected caboose. The experienced fisherman will be able to casually extricate the hooks without incurring the notice and subsequent laughter of his buddies.
Screech: What comes out of a fisherwoman's mouth when she is "positive she saw a snake" in the grass, which leads her to briefly leap onto a safety perch.
Safety Perch: The river rock that the fisherwoman thinks will keep her safe until her fishing partner informs her that snakes can swim.
Campfire Stories: Tales told around the fire at the end of the day, usually under the influence of s'mores. They fall into the categories ghost and benign. Benign stories usually elicit harmless laughter from fishing buddies, while ghost stories, once heard, embed themselves in the listener's subconscious only to return to memory when one is hiking back to the campsite alone--in the dark. If the situation is further complicated by eery elk bugles or rumbling thunder, it is considered acceptable though not desirable to wet ones pants and always leads to some form of hightailing.
Hightailing: What you do when you're late to the rendezvous point and your mom has threatened to take the pickup and leave you stranded if you don't arrive on time. Also usable to describe any and all forms of running, especially if fleeing the vicinity of dog prints imagined to be that of a cougar's.
Undie Creep: The eternal torture that Hades would have condemned Sisyphus to perform had he known anything about stream fishing. It involves the slow and tortuous progress of icy river water from the hem of your jeans up to your waistline while you slog upstream against the might of the current.
I hope you have enjoyed this detour. Laughter is the best medicine so excuse me while I short-sheet the Scout's sleeping bag. Impossible, you say? Well a sister never reveals her secrets. If anyone asks, the baby did it.
Images via: mybelowi.keep.pl, newartcolorz.com, fisheyeguyphotography.com, uvmbored.com, wallpapercave.com
All work subject copyright by the author. Use by permission only. 2015.