Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Stuff White People Like: Fly Fishing

Always in search of adventure, Rickey is headed down to Pennsylvania for a fly fishing expedition this weekend. What does Rickey know about fly fishing? Precisely nothing. (In fact up until recently Rickey was under the impression that “carpe diem” meant “fish of the day”). So as you can gather, these are uncharted waters for Rickey. Now you might wonder, how much skill is involved in fly fishing? Rickey realizes that there's some knowledge involved in picking the lure, the rod, location, etc. But isn't the guy who catches the heaviest fish simply the luckiest? Is it somehow harder to catch the fish with a weight problem? And is the Super Bass-o-Matic still considered an acceptable means of consuming the fish that Rickey catches?

All kidding aside, perhaps there’s more to fly fishing than all this. Sure, to the uninformed individual, fishing might seem like NASCAR on water, but we’ve seen Robert Redford’s “A River Runs Through It” frequently enough on TNT (The New Classics!) to suspect that a certain romanticism lies behind this famed sport. A certain unspoken beauty that the tweed clad fellow on the cover of the Orvis catalog only hints at. Best as Rickey can figure, fly fishing exists at the nexus of science and lyricism. Basic Newtonian physics govern the art of casting the fly rod while a natural beauty permeates one’s surroundings. And from these fertile lyrical grounds emerge the hint of the Divine. As Norman Maclean’s book says:

[fly fishing] "is an art that is performed on a four-count rhythm between ten and two o'clock… …As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God's rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty."So if we’re reading this correctly, Rickey will be prostrating himself before God’s great terrarium. The cathedral of nature, if you will. And while wading in a stream in Pennsylvania, Rickey fully expects to commune with nature and ultimately engage in a profound metaphysical conversation with a higher spiritual power. Some questions Rickey plans on asking the big man upstairs:

-What’s your stance on going bass to mouth?
-Do trout dream of electric flies?
-If Rickey mistakenly reels in an old boot, does that count?
-Is “downstream nymphing” as delightfully fun as it sounds?
-Abe Vigoda: man or ancient water beast?
-Do fish have their own contests to see who can steal the most bait?
-What are the karmic implications of breaking the catch & release laws?
-Do these waders make Rickey’s ass look big?

These and other weighty cosmic questions will be discussed in great length as Rickey becomes one with the stream, the trout, his spirituality, and his nascent fly fishing abilities. Ah fuck it, who are we kidding? Rickey is going fly fishing with a bunch of fraternity buddies, one of whom is named “Clamato Rimmer.” There will be no lyricism to be found this weekend. Somebody’s going to lose an eye, somebody’s going to get lost in the woods, somebody’s going to get shitfaced and pass out in a stream, and nobody’s catching any goddamned fish at all. And maybe, just maybe, some misbegotten madman will find a way to create a fantasy fly fishing league from all this. But on the bright side, at least we can be certain that Rickey won’t be participating in any criminal activity this weekend:

"Lots of people committed crimes during the year who would not have done so if they had been fishing. The increase of crime is among those deprived of the regenerations that impregnate the mind and character of the fisherman.” -Herbert Hoover

So, uh, at least there’s that.

Update: we’ve just been informed that Rickey Henderson (the real one) aspires to one day winning a professional fishing trophy! Nice to see everything come full circle, eh? Rickey's gonna get you fishes! Rickey holds grudges!

[posted at Humor Blogs]

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Alex L said...

Ah fishing, its great, until you realise that it isnt and your not going to catch anything. But at least you'll have beer... Ah beer...

Smitty said...

I second what alex said.

Everything, in fact, is better with beer. Everything.

leigh said...

rickey likes fishing? isn't

George said...

Where in PA? I lived in a community called Fisherman's Paradise outside of State College for a year, not that I ever fished there. I did like hearing the stream babble through, though. And I drank a lot of beer there, too. Ah, the days of mighty Yuengling.

Deb said...

As a former fisherwoman, Rickey, I can attest to the serenity of the fishing experience in a very very zen-like way. Of course, having zero experience with fly fishing, I would venture to say that it looks like a lot more trouble than it's worth, and the potential for harm coming to its participants tottering seriously on the border of likely to definite.

And if you add the beer, well... I think the indicator tips(ies) to definite.

Add to that the fact that fly fishing looks like TONS more work than, say, just baiting a hook, throwing the pole in the water and waiting until something bites... well, sorry, it just doesn't seem like it's Rickey's kind of thing.

And it's soooooo slow, the fishing thing.... maybe too slow for Rickey, even older Rickey.

Rickey Henderson said...

Alex/Smitty: There are few things in life that cannot be improved by the addition of beer.

Leigh: What, black men can't fish? Washington Irving's Mud Sam would like a word with you Leigh.

George: Small world, Rickey's headed to that exact spot outside State College. Not entirely sure what stream we'll be fishing at (Rickey handled the cabin booking and another dude handled the guide reservations) but it's with Spruce Creek Outfitters Rickey believes.

Deb: Believe it or not, Rickey's somewhat of a fisherman. Rickey spent his youth fishing in local ponds and in the adirondacks in the summers. While deep seas fishing, Rickey even snagged s nurse shark once. Sure, fishing can be slow, but it's very calming at the same time. This is Rickey's first attempt at fly fishing so we're hope for good things...

leigh said...

i guess rickey is a master baiter.

also, bwahahaha! bass to mouth? someone's been watching kevin smith.

finally, "caleb" caused quite a bit of stink over at hb. good thing he's incognito.

Statler said...

Statler recommends Bruce's "My Hometown" or possibly "The River"--although that's more of a metaphorical river and not something you want to listen to before you get married--as part of your soundtrack.

David said...

I'm 100% certain that there are very few things in life more boring than fishing.

So if I may offer Rickey a recommendation, grab a copy of "The River Why" by David James Duncan so you can read something about fishing while you are drinking the beer by the river.

Hmmm...well now that I've learned Rickey is of the black persuasion, the title of this post makes sense to me.

Rickey Henderson said...

Leigh: who the shit is caleb?

David/Statler: sadly, there was little time for reading this past weekend. Rickey and his three buddies were too busy fishing, ogling Amish women, nearly getting bitten by water snakes, almost setting themselves on fire, and collectively drinking roughly 95 beers over the weekend. Ugh.

George: Rickey figured that "fisherman's paradise" was a figure of speech, not the actual name of the place. Yeah, Rickey spent a day fishing there. The other day was spent at Penn Creek. Gorgeous place to live. The Elk Creek cafe in Milhelm = awesome brew pub.

Alice said...

Fly-fishing doesn't seem to hold a lot of interest for me because it seems like I'd be standing in the sun a lot. I AM interested in this name "Clamato Rimmer" though. Details?

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

"Someone's going to lose an eye..." LOL!

Strange timing our latest blog titles. :)

Have a great trip!

George said...

Elk Creek cafe in Milhelm = awesome brew pub.

Must have come into brewistence since I left the area in 1994. Actually, as scenic as Fisherman's Paradise was, it was about as boring. Although Zeno's in State College was and is (I think--was there a few year's ago for a friend's wedding) a cool bar.