Erik's Commandments for Fishing

Erik is out of the office this week, so we're reprinting a column from 10 years ago, and are hoping you won't notice.

As spring gets warmer, and the days grow longer, that can only mean one thing: fishing!

There are those people who argue that fishing is a year-round sport, and will fish during the winter, but these people are weird. If the whole point of fishing is to relax, why do I want to sit through bone-biting cold when everyone knows the fish are at home, drinking hot chocolate and watching "Jaws IV: The Revenge."

Every fisherman dreams of finally hooking the big one, like Fat Cat, the 132-lb. catfish from the Tennessee Aquarium. Kathie Fulgham, public relations manager for the Tennessee Aquarium, told me several years ago she was the largest catfish on display in the world.

I thought it was rather odd that they would hire a catfish to handle public relations, since that's usually a job for sharks, but Kathie said she was not the catfish, Fat Cat was.

But as the weather warms up, the ice melts, and the fishing rods have been pried from the cold, dead fingers of the fishermen who missed that hole in the ice, the sane fisherman twitch their arms and flick their casting hand in anticipation of another season spent trolling the world's lakes, oceans, rivers, and catfish tanks at state aquariums. I myself used take a 20 hour drive up to the wilds of Canada each summer and spend a week on a remote lake, but now just fish from shore on one of Indiana's many lakes.

So to celebrate the new fishing season, I would like to offer Erik's Commandments for Fishing, in case we ever end up on the same boat.

1. Mocketh not the Man who requires a glove and a pair of needle nose pliers for hook removal. It's not that he is a sissy so much as he just doesn't want to get fish slime on his fingers. Also, he is a sissy.

2. Teaseth not the Man about being a sissy, because he is mightier than you.

3. Week-long fishing trips are for men only. No women are allowed. Yea though women are wondrous in my sight, they want us to do things, like bathe daily, and not smoke cigars in the cabin. Or on the boat. Or outside.

4. Verily I say unto thee, the fish was this big. . . actually it was THIS big. And it weighed 12 pounds. Why would I lie about such matters?

5. Playeth not the practical jokes, like pulling on my fishing line when I appear to be dozing in my seat. I do not sleep, but merely resteth mine eyes. I am still mightier than you.

6. Hideth not the Holy Needlenose Pliers either. It was not funny the first eight times.

7. Thou shalt have no other baits before artificial lures. Minnows, worms, and other creatures of the sea and Earth are squishy and unclean. Hast thou forgotten that we are a sissy?

8. If thou disobey me, and insist on using creatures of the sea and Earth, thou shalt bait mine hook, lest I become squeamish and drop the bait in the boat.

9. Expecteth not that I will fillet the fish. Oh sure, I'll try it once, but do not make this a habit.

10. Dispose of fish remains far away from camp across the lake. It attracts bears and its day-old odor bringeth tears to mine eyes.

11. Special commandments to wives: Washeth not the Holy Fishing Vest. It is imbued with the smell of victory. And cigars. Hangeth it in the garage for a week instead.

12. Thou must resist the temptation to discard the fillet knife just because "it's old." Scoff not at the Man's need for six fillet knives — they each serve a useful purpose.

13. Yes, the Man understands the irony of owning six fillet knives even though he does not like to fillet fish. The Man hath not questioned your need for all those shoes when you only have two feet.

14. And while we dwell on the subject, scoff not at the Man's need for eight fishing rods and reels either. This is how the Man moves other, lesser fishermen to sing his praises.

15. Verily I say that eating fried fish is healthy and good for the Man. Worry not, for the Man hath eaten of vegetables on Wednesday. Or was it Thursday?

16. And on the eighth day, when the Man returneth home, keep the day holy and silent. Verily, the man is tired from staying up late every night playing poker and smoking cigars. He needeth his "me time."

The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), and my other book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing are both available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook.


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