All Fisherman Are Liars

Fishing is one of those things that really gets into your mind and warps the way you think. It causes you to get excited about odd things like bugs and exactly how much water is moving through your favorite creek at a pretty specific time. You start planning family vacations around things like bugs and, yes, exactly how much water is going to be moving through your favorite creek at a specific time.


It also has a tendency to turn people into liars.


It has hit the point where, more often than not, we doubt most of the stories we’re told until we’re able to confirm it for ourselves.


For instance, there’s a creek near where I live. For the most part, it’s filled with small, enthusiastic little trout that make for an awesome afternoon of catching fish on a dry fly. It’s my favorite place to sneak off to when I’ve got a bit of time to kill or I’m on a deadline and someone really needs me to get some words on the page for them.


The thing that makes this creek particularly exciting, though, is the rumor that there are big fish in it. Not huge, but bigger than six inches.


Now, when I first started hearing those rumors, I was… a little sceptical. It was the kind of thing I’d have to see to really believe. Of course, being the kind of person that I am, I made a point of trying to find those big fish and, since the creek was close enough, I managed to cover a decent amount of water in my search for fish.


This search ultimately lead me to fish most of the 50 some-odd kilometers of the creek in search of those fish.  And, while I caught fish, I never once saw something that made me think there really were big fish in there.


I wasn’t surprised of, of course, because all fishermen are liars, right?


Well, turns out, that wasn’t quite the case.


One day last fall, I fished a stretch of the creek that I hadn’t fished before. It was a small stretch of land that was on private property and, out of respect to the property owner, I stayed away until I’d at least had a chance to meet the guy (which I eventually did and he had no problem with me fishing there).


On the day in question, however, technically, we were trespassing.  We hadn’t had a chance to ask permission for that particular outing to that piece of his land, but since he’d been friendly in the past, it wouldn’t have been that much of a problem.


And, I have to say, the fishing was outstanding. Those big fish I’d been hearing rumors of all those years? They lived on his property (that week, anyway, they haven’t been back since). Not only were they there, but they were hammering dry flies like it wasn’t even funny. Almost every drift lead to a fish and almost every fish was a beautiful specimen of a brook trout.


Now, because we were kind of sort of trespassing, I was a little on edge. I get that way. I like to stay on the good side of everyone because having to do things like talk to cops and lie make me nervous (plus I’m a terrible liar). I paid close attention to whatever cars I could hear and, when I heard one pull up to the gate, I felt my stomach lurch. When I peeked around the corner to the gate, I nearly had a heart attack.


It was the police.


So, here’s where things get really tricky. Not only were we technically on someone else’s land without clearance, the cabin had been broken into a few days earlier. And there I was, trespassing. I swallowed and decided it was time to fess up and tell the cop the truth about the matter.


I set my rod down and walked over to meet him.


“Are you Mr. Paton?” he asked. My dad had noticed the break in and reported it to the police.


“I’m one of them,” I said. “You’re probably looking for my dad.”


“Right,” he said. “I’m just here checking on the camera and putting a new chip in it.”


After he fiddled with the trail cam and put a new chip in it, he turned back me. “How’s the fishing?” he asked. “Catching many fish?”


I paused.


“It… It’s okay,” I said.


“Catching anything big?” he asked.


“I…well, not really,” I tried to sound as cool as possible. “It’s pretty typical for this stream.”


“Two, three pounds?”

I’m pretty sure I laughed at this. “No, no. Nothing like that all,” this lying thing was getting easier. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything around here bigger than a half a pound.”

“I’m always looking at this creek and wondering about the fish,” he said. “Maybe I’ll bring my rod up here next time.”

We chit-chatted a bit more, I suggested he try a few clicks upstream where the fishing was probably better (and where he’d be further away from my newfound honey hole).


Finally, he left.

I let out a huge sigh of relief, mopped the sweat from my brow and made my way back to fish. I couldn’t help but smile because, after a lifetime of being annoyingly honest, I had just lied to the cops. It wasn’t to save my own butt or help out a friend, but to keep someone away from a good fishing spot.




As I said, fishing will do that to you and I guess it goes to show you that old saying holds true: all fishermen are liar, except me and you… and I’m no longer so certain about me.

 By: Douglas Paton 

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