How to Catch the Biggest Fish

Pouring December rain, the crummy’s windows all steamed up,
Our tree-planting crew was talking salmon fishing during lunch
When Piss-Fir Willie matter-of-factly announced,
“Due to my natural modesty I didn’t mention it to you boys,
But I caught me a 30-pound chinook on Thanksgiving morn
Hit a big silver spinner in the Ten-Ten Hole.”
J-Root Johnny immediately hooted, “Hey, dude,
Throw that fucking minnow back!
I nailed one in the gorge last week
That went 38—” But before we could ask him on what
(A pitchfork was rumored his favorite lure)
Pete Tucker honked, “Put it in Glad Bag, Johnny,
And set it out on the curb. I landed one
From that little pool behind the Ulrick Ranch
That weighed out a hair over 42
On the Hiouchi Hamlet scales.”
At which Willie threw up his hands and wailed,
“Shitfire! On this damn crew
The first liar don’t have a chance.”

—Jim Dodge


The American Fisheries Society annual meeting starts in Seattle in a couple of days. I will be in attendance, and am bracing myself for an onslaught of these stories. I worry that “I once saw an echo with a target strength of almost -12 dB re. 1 μPa at 1 m!” is not actually that impressive to most people. I suppose I will just have to fall back on my natural modesty.

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