Sunday, November 27, 2011

How does it feel like?

I'd say it felt very good, but I'm not completely sure.

It's been a long time since I hooked much. This fall I made twelve trips to RI for two bass and a shad. Twelve. No shit. That's not terribly good, is it? So by the time I got to Pulaski my mind - and any last vestige of dignity - had long departed. You'll see what I mean when you watch this short film. I'm quite the prima donna, as it happens.

I caught some real nice fish, but unlike last year I lost many, many, many steelhead. Everyone lost quite a lot of fish: Fish losing was the name of the game this year. But not for Bill, who insisted on landing more than his fair share.

I will say that the fishing was, once again, quite fantastic. Dozens of large, fresh, insane steel were hooked, and some beauties were landed; the weather was divine; we saw few other anglers over our 4 days; and even mine host kept schtum for the most part. More, it's a plain fact that, however great the fishing, the memorable bit was being on a beautiful river for four solid days with a bunch of fine chaps. I appreciated their company a fuck of a lot, and not just because they can catch steelhead between their legs, either.

At some point one of them mentioned a misspent youth and acid bleeps, hence the Chemicals. What can you do.


Particular thanks to Todd and Bill for sharing some of their photos, video, and toilet paper.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Big Mona

[I was digging around in the archives, where we keep the good Scotch, and I came across this post from the summer. It never made it up because, at the time, I was convinced I'd have part II to tell in just a matter of time. Well, winter's upon us, and part II never happened. I mean, hasn't happened, yet.]

The almost endless rain has put a damper on my carp fishing, and my stream smallmouthing as well, so I've been fishing some ponds for largemouth bass. One of these ponds is a heavily-fished public pond, so I'm not surprised that I've yet to pull out (or even see) any large bass. The other pond would appear on the face of it to be perfect: it's sort of private, being part of a residential community (and said residents do not fish it much, for reasons that I cannot divulge, lest I clue you into its location), and it is virtually impossible for anybody to fish it effectively (for reasons that I cannot divulge, for the same reason). I say "virtually impossible" because I, in fact, can fish it very effectively, not because I am skilled but for other reasons...that I cannot divulge. Let's just say that no laws are being broken, and we'll leave it at that.

The problem is that in two trips, I'd managed only some moderately respectable bluegills and some very small bass. I can be pretty happy fishing water that will give up the occasional fourteen to sixteen inch bass; at that size, they will put a pleasing bend into even my stout six weight bass rod. But this pond failed to do so on my first trip, with the fly . On my second, I left the fly rod at home and worked every likely bit of shoreline cover with some spinner-baits. This, I reasoned, would reveal what sort of potential this pond had. Well, again I failed to catch anything of any size. So I decided I needed some new ponds. I spent an afternoon poring over aerial photographs of my area, and marked about 30 different ponds on the map. That afternoon I also bought a new cap bearing the insignia of the local university where I work, reasoning that this might get my foot in a few doors. Also, according to my wife, my regular fishing cap is vile.

The following day, I took a shower, shaved, put on a clean shirt and my new cap, grabbed my map, and went to it. A few ponds, upon close inspection, were too small or weed-infested to be of interest. Eventually, I came to a farmhouse and was surprised to see "Lepomis" on the license plate of one of the trucks in the drive. Lepomis is the Latin name of the genus that contains the sunfishes. This could be really good, I thought! Eager, I knocked. When a woman answered, I explained that I was new to the area, looking for some fishing, and that from what I could tell from the maps, they had a pond. She grinned and said "Yes, we do have a pond. Two, in fact. And they're full of very, very large fish. We have a lot of five-pound bass, and some bluegills that are pushing two pounds." I tried to act cool. "But," she continued, "my husband is really into those fish and doesn't allow anybody else to fish them." I told her I understood, thanked her for her time, glanced around quickly to see if they had any motion-detecting cameras and/or large-bore firearms, and headed for my car. "I'm trying to think if there are any other ponds in the area..." she said as I'd turned to leave. This was a good sign. She was engaging me in conversation! We chatted a while longer, I turned to leave again, and she said "Do you have a card?". Why, yes I do...and I handed her the small slip of paper containing my name, phone number, and email address. Again I prepared to leave, but now her husband was coming up over the hill on his tractor. She said "Here comes the boss. I can't promise you he'll say yes." Well, the three of us chatted a long while, but in the end, he would not relent (or, at least he has not yet...I left my contact information with them and eagerly await a call...).

What is the point of this story you are now probably asking yourself. Well, I told you that story so that I could then tell you this story:

So here I was, faced with the prospect of more high-water carping, or heading back to one of my regular ponds and the micro-bass they contained. My seven-year-old son asked me if we could go fishing in the morning, something in which he has only shown moderate interest so far. I decided that maybe a pond full of little bass and bluegills might be just about right for a day of Fishing with The Boy, so I agreed. In the morning, we would take some worms and small spinners, and see if we couldn't get him a fish or two. Dawn found us loading the car, and soon we were on the water. It wasn't long before he got his first fish, and soon after a few more. Between the two of us, we managed a few respectable bluegills and several bass...small ones, of course. The Boy admitted to getting bored, so I agreed that we'd fish just a little while longer. Now I must digress here, just briefly. One important part of this story concerns my tackle. Because almost all of my fishing is done with a fly rod, my "conventional" gear leaves something to be desired. The Boy was using one of my nicer, but very old bass rods, fitted with a little spincast reel. I elected to take along a little spinning rod a neighbor gave me years ago. According the writing on the side, this rod is four and one-half feet long, best fitted with 4-8 pound test line, and designed to throw lures up to about one-billionth of an ounce. During the course of the morning, I missed several solid strikes from miniature bass because upon hookset, the rod would double-over and still not drive the hook home. It probably didn't help that I was throwing a small Panther-Martin spinner with dull, rusty, barbless hooks that, I am certain, has been in my tackle box since about 1983.

Now, with apologies to the authors (and, it occurs to me now, the readers) of the "Penthouse Forum", I say that I never thought this would happen to me. At some point during a very routine cast to a very routine spot (one we'd already fished, I think) my spinner stopped short, gave a little (as if hooked on a flexing branch), and then stopped again. I lifted the rod, thinking that perhaps I'd be able to get the lure loose. It was then that I noticed that my line was moving sideways, which was then followed, of course, by the realization that something alive was connected to the other end. In that brief moment I had enough time to wonder first if I'd hooked a large turtle; whatever it was, it was heavy, but also not very energetic. But some subtle shaking convinced me that I had a fish, so my second thought was that maybe I'd hooked a carp (though I had no reason to suspect they were in this pond). I commented, rather casually, to The Boy that I had a fish, and a good one at that. At this point, a large silver and green form materialized and at the same instant that I realized the fish was a largemouth bass, the fish came to the surface and jumped. No, it didn't jump. It wallowed. It opened its enormous maw, and wallowed. And then the spinner flew out of its mouth, and the great fish sank out of view. I made a few comments about the fish and its escape and then The Boy said "Daddy, what does #@&^#% and %&$^#% and #*&%@! mean? And why do you have that look on your face? Daddy, you're scaring me."

And so, when I say that I never thought this would happen to me, I didn't mean that I thought I'd never lose a fish. I didn't mean that I thought I'd never hook a bass that large (although it's true that I never expected that, either). What I mean is that I never thought I'd be that guy who casually tosses a junky lure on a junky rod and hooks a huge fish. Because I just don't fish that way. But I did, and it happened. And damn it, it was a really, really big bass. It was the biggest bass I have ever seen. I caught a bass on a live bluegill many years ago, as a kid, that was 22 inches long and weighed six pounds. Obviously, I can't say for sure how big this lost fish was, and my memory of the six pounder is clouded by years. But I've also caught a number of striped bass and carp exceeding ten pounds in the last few years, so I feel like I have a reasonably good "feel" for basic fish size. I think this bass, whom The Boy has taken to calling "Big Mona", was in the ball park of eight pounds.

Now, I'm faced with some real paternal/piscatorial conflicts. The Boy is now wildly enthusiastic about fishing. And he's damn near hell-bent on catching Big Mona. And I love to see this in him. But since I was the one who hooked and lost that fish, it's only right that I be the one to catch it, at least the first time, right? Right? My wife is disgusted with me. But it's because she doesn't understand, right? Right? The Boy isn't equipped to handle Big Mona. His casts still hang up in the trees, or splash down too hard. He'll scare her. If he does hook her, the reel will fail or the line will break, won't it? And if this happened, we'd all lose, right? Right?

What is the point of this story you are now probably asking yourself. Well, I told you this story so that when I do finally catch Big Mona, I can tell you that story.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


According to the dictionary, "chagrin" is "a keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event." I should have gotten back in the car right then.

In dire need of some decompression, and, I'll admit, jealous of the hourly texts from Jonny reporting yet another fresh steelhead cartwheeling across the river*, I decided to do a little steelheading of my own. Armed with a box of flies that had worked well in the past, I headed north on Monday evening to the home of an old friend. There, I learned that you really can tell the difference between 80 and 101 proof Wild Turkey.

Morning found me overlooking the aptly named Chagrin river. I pondered this odd river, which, at my first spot, was 70 feet wide, 4 inches deep, and much, much clearer than my head. From my vantage point, high above the river on a bridge, I could see every square inch of water for 50 yards in either direction, and not only were no fish visible, it wasn't at all clear where a fish would hide. I hiked and eventually found a likely-looking pool...already occupied by two fishermen.

Several more stops yielding mostly more keen feelings of mental unease, until finally I found a stretch of river that actually looked like it had not been built by the Army Corps of Engineers out of polished marble counter tops. I spied a likely looking pool, rounded the corner to position myself, and saw another angler working his way towards the head. I was closer, so I felt it would be appropriate that I would have first crack at the spot. So, I quickly hooked the tree behind me, leaving my entire leader on a high branch, well out of reach. Having now left a subtle but uniquely-Brayshaw-esque landmark in the tree, I was sure I'd be able to find this pool on my next trip. This gave me the confidence to re-tie my entire rig, which gave the other fisherman plenty of time to work his way into the pool. I hiked further upstream to fish the water he'd already worked over.

Six casts, and just as many leader replacements later, found me in the greatest of spirits as I eyed a deep chute across the river. A second drift through this water stopped the fly line suddenly, and I lifted the rod to find it buckling against the headshakes of a heavy steelhead. In four tenths of a second the fish was off, and I added to my keen feeling of unease some annoyance, and embarrassement, caused by failure, disappointment, and a series of disconcerting events. Chagrin River, indeed.

Shortly thereafter, I met a couple fishing and the male half asked me if I'd have any luck. "No", I replied, to which he responded "Well, how can you complain on a beautiful day like this!! It's just great to be out here!!" I thought about this as I crushed his trachea under my wading boot, his wife all the while begging me not to kill him. Was this the right thing to do? Probably. But that's not really the point. The point is that I have very limited time to go steelheading, and the drive is very long. When I get there, I want to hook and land large numbers of fast, strong fish. And this is all. I don't care if it is sunny and 72. I thought that we - the steelhead and I - had an agreement, and that this agreement went something like this: I drive a long fucking way and fish hard, and you get caught. I hardly think I am being unreasonable here. And so, needless to say, I am disappointed in steelhead. I know what's going to happen, though. The sting will subside, I'll forget this disastrous trip, and will soon be planning another. In this way, steel heading is much like childbirth, but worse.

Well, this time I am prepared. I made this little video, which I intend to watch every time I start to think that maybe a steelhead trip isn't such a bad idea. Feel free to watch it yourself, if you, too, are thinking of steelhead fishing.

[* Stay tuned...]

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Verboten!! Thoughts on ethics and fishing...

As it turns out, if you show up in an internet fishing discussion forum and suggest that fishing, per se, might raise some challenging ethical questions, you may very well find yourself in the minority position. Through no fault of my own, I am now banned from chat boards in 32 states and 7 foreign countries.  This is my story.

Some time ago, on a forum I no longer frequent the Finnish Sword Spirit posed an interesting question: why do we harm what we profess to so love? Of course, this question presupposes two things: first, that we love fish, and second, that what we do harms them.  I take it as a given that the former is true.  Does fishing harm fish? We know, without a doubt, that the fish we eat are killed, and we also know, without a doubt, that some of the fish we catch, and then release, also die. But of course, the carrots we eat also die – the issue, then, is whether the fish we catch actually suffer.

Although in some ways, this is the most important question, the real purpose of this post isn’t to answer that question, for two reasons.  First, this is actually a very complicated question that requires not only a careful definition of “suffer” but also that we decide if such a definition applies only to sentient beings- and this, in turn, requires that we first define “sentient being” and then determine whether fish are, in fact, sentient. For these reasons, determining whether fish feel pain and suffer for it is (in my opinion) largely under the purview of neurologists (And, it seems, still a fairly controversial subject in the field of neurobiology.) Second, if fish do not suffer, then this particular discussion is about as interesting as asking whether it is ethical to eat donuts.  So I’m interested in discussing whether fishing raising ethical questions because this, itself, is an interesting question.  Interesting is always better than uninteresting.  I also admit – no, proudly declare – that my thoughts on this subject are a work in progress. If your thinking isn’t a work in progress, then you’re functionally brain-dead, or at least brain-stagnant.  And that’s just not culvert.

So, we’re going to explore this problem under the assumption that fish do feel pain, and can at least experience something akin to “suffering”, though what and how much that might be we won’t specify right now.  When these discussions came up on-line, I was surprised at some of the vitriol I experienced when I suggested we might want to think about this.  This vitriol was, in my opinion, misguided for the following reasons. If we (i.e. fishermen) justify the ethical permissibility of fishing on the premise that fish cannot suffer, then we will be forced to accept that fishing is ethically impermissible if, at some point, scientists determine beyond any reasonable doubt that fish do indeed suffer.  If, instead, we can identify a justification for fishing that does not rely on the premise that fish do not feel pain, it won’t matter what scientists later discover.

There is an additional reason, also self-serving, why we should think about this topic. We will never convince an ardent opponent of fishing to go fishing or even that fishing is ethical. However, there is a large proportion of the population that does not fish, but is not – yet – opposed to the idea that those of us who wish to fish should be allowed to do so legally.  When these people see the “slob fisherman”, who leaves his empty beer cans along the river, tosses fish onto the bank to slowly suffocate, and treats with utter disdain those who might even wonder if fishing presents some ethical challenges, these fence-sitters move a little more in one direction.  When they see that fisherman are instead capable of thinking about, and even concerned about, the welfare of the fish they catch, then the fence-sitters move a little bit in the other direction.  Why should you care?  Because fence-sitters, by virtue of their numbers, have influence.

And, I have to get one more thing off my chest.  I’m not going to try to determine here whether fish do or do not feel pain or suffer.  But I have to address some of the arguments that I regularly see offered as proof of either the former or the latter. Perhaps more than anything else, I see the following: “If fish felt pain, they would not eat sharp things. Yet fish do eat sharp things; therefore, fish do not feel pain.” This argument is internally valid, but is based on a false premise.  The idea that fish would not eat sharp things if they felt pain is simply ludicrous. Natural selection favors traits, including behaviors, whose benefits, on average, outweigh the costs – and all traits have both benefits and costs.  Animals of all kinds do things that cause them pain precisely because the benefits outweigh the costs. The examples are countless, but consider the many male mammals (which we all reasonably infer feel pain) that will fight with rival males, often becoming mortally wounded in the process, for the chance to mate with females. Why in the world would males fight like this if they felt pain?  To get laid! Because any male who was unwilling to do so would not produce male offspring who, in turn, were also willing to do so.

One also regularly sees the argument that fish must not feel pain, because otherwise they would not fight against the angler.  The idea here is that by resisting, they would increase the pain inflicted by the hook.  Assuming that no animal would do anything that increases pain, it must follow, then, that fish do not feel pain. Of course, the assumption is bogus (particularly when one considers the fish’s options, as the fish must "see" it: resist and possibly live, or come in calmly and be killed). Interestingly, the same observation – that fish resist being captured – is also offered as evidence that they do feel pain or suffer. Unfortunately, the fact that fish, or any organism, can respond in a way as to avoid or mitigate damage is not evidence, one way or the other, on the pain and suffering question. Plants can detect damage from herbivores and respond by sending defensive chemicals to the site of damage.  Many single-celled aquatic organisms will respond to potential threats by swimming away.  These – and other “damage mitigating” traits – not only do not require a sense of pain, they don’t even require a nervous system or consciousness. Neurobiologists who study fish still do not agree on whether fish suffer, not because they disagree on what fish do when hooked, but because they disagree on how a fish’s brain processes the event.

But for the sake of this discussion, for reasons outlined above, we’re going to assume that fish do feel pain and suffer, at least to some degree. From here, I’m going to take what we might call a more-or-less utilitarian ethics perspective (as opposed to, say, a deontological one).  This is basically the idea that what is right is that which maximizes good and minimizes harm. Although some would disagree that a utilitarian approach ever justifies causing animals harm, most people probably fall somewhere else on the spectrum. For example, many people argue that some kind of research on animals is justified, provided that the benefits from that research (say, for example, towards curing diseases that cause great suffering) are sufficient. This argument usually assumes that, at a minimum, humans are justified in causing some animal suffering if the alternative is death, or perhaps also horrible human suffering.

Things that are necessary for us to live we could call “essential human benefits”.  All else we might call “non-essential human benefits”.   The problem gets complex, and therefore interesting, once it is no longer human life that is at stake but instead something that we might say “ranks lower” than simply sustaining a human life, i.e. those “non-essential human benefits.”  Let’s ignore, for the moment, that there might be some disagreement over what is or is not “essential”, or over whether something might be called a “benefit” or not.  Let’s just lump all those things that some humans do to improve the quality of their lives into this category (even if you, yourself, don’t necessarily do it).  What might some of these be, that include the use of animals and cause, perhaps, suffering?  Animal research that is not directly related to saving human lives, hamburgers, bullfights, hunting and fishing (among all but those who must live where agriculture - and relocating - is not an option) probably all qualify as non-essential human benefits that result in some degree of animal suffering. Anything else?  More on this shortly.

Arguments against these and similar activities posit that the suffering these activities cause does not justify them because they are non-essential, and because the suffering they cause is not (or may not be) trivial.  Much of the debate around the use of animals concerns the use of animals for food, because humans do need to eat after all; so, the question becomes whether eating meat is essential, and if not, can it be justified? For most people, eating meat is not essential; this is incontrovertible, I think. The obvious alternative, then, is to eat plants. But is it? Some thought-provoking debates in the field of environmental/animal ethics have recently addressed whether, from a utilitarian approach, eating plants always causes less harm than eating animals.  If strict utilitarianism is the standard by which we assign ethical permissibility, and it can be shown that some forms of meat consumption cause less suffering, overall, than practices associated with plant consumption, then it must be concluded that this form of meat consumption is more ethically permissible than being a vegetarian.  This is precisely the argument that Steven Davis puts forth in a paper that received not just considerable attention in the scholarly literature, but even in the popular press. One key point in Davis’s argument is that agricultural practices, i.e. the growing of plants for food, inevitably harm and kill animals – but he goes further.  Citing the very few studies that have actually tried to quantify the number of vertebrates killed by agriculture, Davis argues that some (but not all) meat-based diets actually result in fewer animal deaths, per year, than a strictly vegetarian diet. (Davis focuses on vertebrates, particularly birds and small mammals, because most of the meat we eat comes from vertebrates, and because it is not clear at all whether insects – which are surely killed by the billions by agriculture – can actually suffer.) His study was subsequently criticized on a number of grounds, in particular that some of the calculations were wrong – and from the utilitarian (i.e. “least harm”) perspective, this matters.  I’ll let somebody else do the research.  But the idea itself is thought provoking, to me, and has some bearing (though perhaps tangential) to my recent thoughts on fishing and ethics.

One of the arguments fishermen often make to justify fishing is that, among other things, they get to interact with nature. For many opposed to fishing, this is insufficient grounds for causing fish to suffer for a number of reasons, one of which is the argument that one can “get out into nature” without actually fishing.  This argument assumes that a fisherman can get that connection to nature whether he or she is fishing or not.  Most fishermen, I contend, would not agree with that, even if they cannot explain exactly why.  I certainly fall into that category.  It strikes me as very similar, in some ways, to what making music does for some musicians and what painting does for some artists.  That is, although they cannot (perhaps) describe the effect it has on them, it is real and important.  And most importantly, it cannot be replaced by another activity, just because somebody else cannot understand why it cannot.  Should the violinist suddenly find himself without a violin, he is probably not going to be satisfied by the suggestion that he “just take up painting”.  This is an important point, to which I'll return shortly, because it has bearing on one of the criticisms of fishing: that fishing causes suffering in fish for nothing more than the "fun" that the fisherman gains. I think many of us, i.e. fishermen, would agree that "fun" doesn't quite capture it.  Again - more on this shortly.

The question I keep returning to is “What are we entitled to, beyond mere existence, and where does that “thing” that we get from fishing fall, relative to other non-essential human benefits?” Reflecting back on the arguments of Davis, even if one accepts the criticisms of his calculations, it’s probably incontrovertible that modern agricultural practices harm a shit-ton of animals.  Now, you might be right in arguing that this still harms fewer animals than if we were to eat them, but the consequences of all of the death and destruction of modern agriculture go beyond simply providing us with necessary calories and nutrients.  It provides us with a relatively cheap and varied selection of veggies.  And these attributes, I argue, are in fact “non-essential human benefits.”  That is, while we do need to eat, it is far from essential that we have access to produce that is as inexpensive and varied as it is. Lentils everyday, anyone? When cheap vegetables, and all of the other things that we (as in “first-world inhabitants”) enjoy as non-essential benefits – and, it would seem to me, this includes a whole lot of stuff…stuff that nobody I know does entirely without – are considered in this light, things get more complicated.   So far I’ve been unable to come up with a positive justification for fishing (by which I mean, a justification that argues that my going fishing causes me more pleasure than the equivalent suffering it causes to the fish – provided that we assume the fish do, in fact, suffer.) But I’m also unable to convince myself that my fishing is, in fact, more harmful than what many people are doing when they take advantage of (often unknowingly, or without any thought to) these various non-essential benefits. And I think this gets back to the issue of whether fishing is simply something we do "for fun" - and if there is more to it than that, which I think is so, how does one evaluate it relative to the many things we humans do merely "for convenience"? Here, of course, I'm referring to my earlier points about inexpensive and varied produce selections, and the like. My gut wants to say, in response to the argument that if I were to cease fishing, the world would be spared of some suffering: “You go first.”

Finally, the “least harm principle” suggests that there is a currency (i.e. harm, or the avoidance of harm), and this brings up another question: Can one “cap and trade” oneself to a more (but probably not perfectly) ethical life?  In other words, if I don’t eat a cheap and well-balanced meal on Friday (and instead opt for the more expensive and certainly less interesting, but also less-harmful “Lentil Surprise”), can I go fishing on Saturday?

- T.J.  Brayshaw


For those interested in wading a bit deeper into the literature surrounding these debates, here are some starting points...

The article by De Leeuw is one of the more widely cited philosophical papers arguing against "sport" fishing. De Leeuw argues that fishing is an act of cruelty.  It's a thought provoking read, as is Olsen's very good critique of De Leeuw's paper.

De Leeuw, A. Dionys (1996) Contemplating the interests of fish: the angler’s challenge. Environmental Ethics 18:373-390.

Olesen, Len (2003) Contemplating the intentions of anglers: the ethicist’s challenge. Environmental Ethics 25:267-277.

The paper by Davis that I mentioned in the post is listed below, along with two follow-up papers that challenged some of Davis's assumptions and conclusions:
Davis, Steven (2003) The least harm principle may require that humans consume a diet containing large herbivores, not a vegan diet. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16:387-394 (2003).
Matheny, Gaverick (2003) Least harm: a defense of vegetarianism from Steven Davis’s omnivorous proposal. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16:505-511.
Lamey, Andy (2008) Food Fight!  Davis versus Regan on the Ethics of Eating Beef. Journal of Social Philosophy 38:331-348
 Finally, those interested in some of the more practical and biological issues relevant to this debate, such as the effects of capture on fish survival and welfare, whether fish can feel pain and have the capacity to suffer, etc, I'd suggest digging up papers by the following authors:

Robert Arlinghaus, Steven J. Cooke, Victoria Braithwaite, Lynne Sneddon, James D. Rose

Arlinghaus and Cooke often tackle the really practical stuff (what happens to fish when they're caught, played and released, etc.).  Braithwaite, and to some degree Sneddon, work on the issue of pain in fish, and tend to come down on the side that fish do feel pain and might suffer.  James D. Rose, on the other hand, is biologist who comes down on the other side, and has been very critical of some of the work by Sneddon.  All the work is worth a read.


[This is more deep-thinking that is good for me, so it is my hope and intention to bring you more ridiculous, irreverent and offensive material as soon as I recover and am back to my normal self.  I'd like to thank Erin Block, of the blog Mysteries Internal, for inspiring me to put this post up, after sitting on it for some time.  Her recent post on the ethical issues surrounding fishing for spawning fish was not only well-written and thought provoking, but the post and subsequent comments also increased my confidence that there are some thinking folks out there...]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Culvert Male Bag

On any given day The Culvert receives a multitude of letters and packages; some from grateful anglers, some from product developers and advertisers. We're simply unable to respond to such high volume but we do appreciate it, and like to share a random selection every so often. If we print your letter we'll send you a *Butt Out II! Today I wanted to share this rather sweet letter from a chap called Chuck (actually, I'm assuming he's a chap - he didn't say, and given his suggestion, I don't think we've ever met).

"Dear Jonny: Please could you forward this to Brayshaw? I figure if he uses TP on his face the dumb shit didn't figure out email yet. Anyways, I know The Culvert is inundated with mail from fans and I don't expect you to respond [Ed: surprise!] But instead of the usual complaints, I would like to branch out with a suggestion. Surely the blog could use some prettying up? See the example below of what real carp fishermen [sic] look like. I never been carp fishing, but I imagine the local brownline streams are chock full of anglers just like this.

Cheers - Chuck"

Some writing down here. It doesn't matter what. I've stopped writing, and you no longer remember why you even stopped by.