Rules of the Fishing Report
It happens when you see the knuckle buoy.
It has been a day. The blue water has surprised and offered and only you and your fellow boat-mates have shared in the moment or moments and experience and experiences and there exists a desire to share. Somewhere, near this buoy there exists a cellular signal.
Suddenly, there is power in the ability to communicate and replay the moments seen, felt, and rightfully stretched truth and half-truths. Yet, there are rules of communication that must be understood and these are part of a creed we anglers know and the rest of society would just never understand.
Never, even if it is your biggest catch, ever, call your best friend, ever, and say you have landed your biggest catch, ever. Always downplay and remain humble and use their biggest catch, ever, as a reference comparison to your fish. Say, “Your fish is still bigger but I am happy with mine.”
Never, even if the weather was perfect, say the weather is perfect. Somewhere, a cloud was in your hemisphere. Somewhere, the wind stirred. Somewhere, in the Atlantic basin, a wave jostled a boat. Say, “The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was fishable.”
Never, even if every fish in a two-mile radius attacked empty, rusted, dull, bent, 1979-era hooks, say the fish bit everything tossed into the water. Say, “We scrapped for every bite.”
Never, even if the good fish you had on the line was coming to the boat and the shark snatched it from the surface and suddenly your good fish was a good meal that was connected to an extraordinary moment say that occurred, ever. Say, “We think we saw a shark, in the distance, for a split second, or it could have been just a shadow.”
Never, even if the cooler and the fish box and the bow of the boat are filled with fish, say you used all the bait and came home early. Say, “We caught what we needed to make a catch and knocked off early.”
Never, send a photograph of the fish on the docks and you and your buddies kneeling, tanned, smiling, and the sun painting a pastel image in the background. Instead, “Take a photo of a fish that is smaller than your best friend’s best fish, ever, make sure your hair looks wind-blown, and the shark-tooth necklace is off your neck, and never, ever, ever, look as though you enjoyed your day.
It should be noted that these rules of the fishing report are not necessarily accurate reflections of a good day on the water. However, in the spirit of maintaining friendships and not showcasing or bragging or rubbing salt in the wound of someone that could not come on this trip, this time, and not catch these fish, too, then a false report I an acceptable form of a report.
Never, as an angler should you tell the whole truth. Instead, say, “This is my fishing report.” Everyone that doesn’t fish will believe you and everyone that does fish will know the weather was perfect and the fish begged for a ride home on ice.
Enjoy your time outdoors.