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Monday, May 19, 2014

FISHING WITH FROG - a Cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from June 2011.  I submit it in honor of my fishing buddies whom I no longer join in June for the annual trip as I am getting too old and because…ah hell read and you will understand.  Anyway, GOOD FISHING guys, and if anyone says “That’s why they call it fishing and not catching” smack the asshole for me!

Frog, Catfish, Cranky,
and Marty to most, Mr. Kurtyka to the neighborhood six year olds (a new addition.)
 It is almost June.  Early June is when my friends Frog (named as he looks like the goggle glasses wearing kid on the little rascals) and Catfish (named because…well it just seemed to fit) take an annual three day fly fishing trip to western Maryland.  I have joined Frog and Catfish three of the last six years.  We have a great time, but as I get older this fly fishing thing gets a lot like work.  I’ve yet to decide if I am going this year, or if I will look for an excuse to take a pass.

We stay for free on this trip in a nice house on a beautiful lake.  Frog has a sweet deal with some Guy for this house.  Actually it is a friend whose name is “Something or other” Guy.  I don’t know how he does it, but Frog never goes anywhere and pays.  He has a friend in every state in the union. 

Of course we never fish on this lake which is noted for its large and small mouth bass.  That would be too easy.  Instead we travel 45 minutes to an hour to fly fish for trout in several different Maryland streams.

I enjoy the outdoors, and the trout streams we fish are beautiful, and relaxing…if it wasn’t for the fishing.  Several factors make this endeavor more chore than pleasure.

Frog, Bill to most people Mr. Douwes to neighborhood six year olds, taught me how to fly fish.  Well…he got me to try.  I have acquired some proficiency at this sport which tops most in its ability to frustrate, but attaching a speck of a fabricated insect to the tiniest line is almost impossible for my tired eyes.  When I lose a “fly”, usually snagged in a tree, I have to whine to Frog like a three year old for him to attach a new fly to my line. 

It takes several “false casts” to let out line before dropping the fly gently in a spot certain to hold a fish.  If your timing is off, these false casts succeed only in creating a giant bird’s nest of tangled knotted line.  I spend much of my fishing time sitting on a rock trying to undo these tangles.

Navigating these streams in full wading gear is also difficult.  Walking on slime covered bowling ball like rocks in a fast stream is not really relaxing. 

Still, all things considered, I have learned to enjoy this pastime and have even caught an occasional trout.  The reason I hesitate to participate in the annual excursion is…… CATFISH!!
Frog is an avid, accomplished fly fisherman.  Catfish, Roy to most people Mr. Miller to neighborhood six year olds, is a certified fishing lunatic.  Catfish is up at dawn and ready to fish.  We call him FTD, fish till dark.  He will not quit till the fish stop biting, and they never stop biting for Catfish.  He could catch fish in a street puddle.  Frog catches four or five fish on a good day.  I catch two or three on a good weekend.  Catfish catches three or four an hour.

Catfish is always on the move.  “Let’s go upstream; let’s go down stream; I’m going to cross the river; there is a stream a few miles from here we should try……”  I am perfectly happy not catching fish where I am and don’t really want to leave to not catch fish somewhere else.

When I move in a stream, I splash and stir up silt scaring all the smart fish.  I then cast my fly with a loud slap and a tangle where I think a fish might be hiding.  Catfish silently sneaks up on his prey, hides behind a rock and lands his fly quietly as if it just fell from the sky right on top of a clueless trout.

I will fish all day with the same fly.  Frog will make frequent changes from a stash of an assortment of self tied lures.  Catfish also has a stash and makes frequent changes, but will whip out gear and tie a special fly on the spot if he sees a feeding trend. 

Frog and Catfish have the fly fishing jargon down to a science.  “Fish on!” Frog will yell when he gets a bite.  “Whatcha got?” Catfish asks.
Frog with "Fish on!"

“Feels like a brownie.”

“Really?  All’s I’ve seen are brookies!”

“Feels like a brown…wait; damn it’s a little rainbow!  I could have sworn it was a brownie.  It fought just like a brownie!”

“What did you catch him with?”

“A mugwig number 8.  I was using a catsinjammer number 4, but I thought I saw something feeding on what looks just like a mugwig!”

“Thanks, I’ll have to tie me one.  Can you loan me some baby skunk tail fur?”


I hook up and I yell, “Got something!” 

“What is it?”

“How the fuck should I know?  It’s either a fish or a lively freaking snagged branch.  Wait…damn, it’s a branch.  I could have sworn it was a fish.  It fought like a fish! ”

“What were you using?”

“A fucking dumb foam ant!  What is the difference?”

“Thought so, branches love those foam ants!”

“Fuck you! Freaking wise guys.
Cranky showing off a branch

By nine PM I am exhausted, sore and starving.  Even Frog has had enough.  We beg, then drag Catfish away from the stream and head for dinner at Uno’s, the only place still open out in the sticks of western Maryland. 

One day of this I can handle, three days I’m not sure.  I think Frog likes my company.  I make him feel real good about his fishing ability. 

I’m not sure Catfish even knows I am there.

Newcomer Bud, Gilbert to most and Mr. Shill to neighborhood six year olds

Good Fishing this year guys!!



  1. I'm exhausted just reading this. I'm with you. Stay where you are and enjoy the scenery.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  2. too dang cute. catfish sounds exhausting! :)

  3. So you gave up the fly fishing. What did you replace it with?

    Thanks for including the pictures. The visual was good while reading your story, trying to absorb the jargon (no success there), and trying to feel the appeal of it all.

  4. The only thing that could make that more work would be going back to the house at 9:00 p.m. and cleaning and cooking those fish. Or branches.

  5. Yeah, I gotta a Catfish who we just call Grits, and a Frog who we call Larry. I'm Goof and I kinda swore off them years ago. Well, actually they stopped inviting me when I kept pace a few times with meal worms and an occasional rooster tail. Usually at a spot they'd left a few hours ago.

    I wasn't good at it but some days I was mighty lucky. Guess that was tough to swallow. I mean, what self-respecting trout goes for mealworms?

  6. As a kid we often went fishing in the Santa Cruz mountains. I loved the fresh air and scenery but had little interest in catching fish, which is why I was the only one who actually caught anything.

  7. Ah ha ha ha ha haaaa!!! :-) Branches love the foam ants!!


  8. Too funny!

    I go fishing at the local grocery store. Catch something every. single. time.

  9. Fly fishing sounds about as much fun as bowling with square balls. Avoid it at all costs. Either one.

  10. Hi Joe - I'm like Pixel Peeper - catch me some fish at the grocery store, LOL That was quite a blog - hope you won't miss the fishing this year. Hugs, Chris

  11. Ha ha Joe - you HAVE to go just so you can blog about it and make me laugh more - do it for your readers, you owe us!