Saturday, January 5, 2019


After a little break from blogging, I’m ready to get after it in 2019. The first topic of the year has to do with a Christmas gift my Uncle Mark gave me, All Fishermen Are Liars by John Gierach.

books of Christmas past
As far back as my freshman year in college, Uncle Mark has given me mostly philosophical books that examine fly fishing and life (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the exception). They've all been good reads and I’ve enjoyed them all. 

This year’s book title piqued my curiosity and introspection, All Fishermen Are Liars.

Are we?

The answer is yes and no. Maybe, maybe is the better answer.

Perhaps Jane's observation years ago best described fisherman. She was new to the world of fishing and really hadn't been around fisherman until she met me. It didn't take her long to observe that most fisherman do not outright lie, but rather they/we "lie by omission.”

Want an example? Here’s a couple of conversations between fisherman who don’t understand this and those that do. I’ll  set the scene: it’s mid August on the Kenai River and even though there’s a run of pink salmon happening, anglers are targeting the more desired fish, silver salmon. 

Naive Fisherman. "How’s fishing?"
Fisherman. "Pretty good."
Naive Fisherman. "How many did you catch." 
Fisherman.  "Ten." 
Naive Fisherman. "Wow. That is good." 

Here’s the same conversation with someone who understands another fisherman. 

Wily Fisherman. "How’s fishing?"
Fisherman. "Pretty good." 
Wily Fisherman. "How many did you catch?"
Fisherman.  "Ten."
Wily Fisherman.  "Wow.  That is good. What kind were they?"
Fisherman. "Umm, pink salmon." 
Wily Fisherman.  "Did you catch any silver salmon?"
Fisherman.  "Nope. We had a couple on." 

See the difference?  The first example the questioner assumes ten silver salmon were caught and let the conversation end there. In the second example the questioner assumes that fisherman lie by omission and a couple of follow up questions led to the real truth about fishing. Smart/wily fisherman use this knowledge to their advantage. 

Let me just end this post by saying this: I try really hard to be brutally honest when I’m reporting on fishing. Not everyday is the "best day ever" and managing expectations is my goal. It’s a cliche, but honesty is still the best policy.  But, it wouldn’t hurt to ask a few follow up questions when asking me how the fishing was...just sayin’.


Jeff King said...

Don Dzingle asked me if I'd ever been skunked. I said no... But I've run out of time a few times.

Beaver Creek Cabins & Guide Service said...

Only a master guide would have a clever comeback like that. I’m stealing that one from you...