By Fred Garth
When we were still monkeys, we threw rocks to kill fish. Then we evolved from knuckle draggers into subhumans and used spears, nets and hunks of meat on pointy rocks. Now, in the age of Snapchat and robot vacuums, we humanoids have advanced to live bait. Everything from shrimp to pinfish to bonita help us fool pea-brained fish. But live bait is not for the fishing purist. Oh no! The homo supremus does not stoop to that level. They have aspired to use only lures, only artificial bait – non-smelly and not messy. Because they are a highly evolved master race, who thrives on frustrating themselves.
Caught on a shiny top water lure.
As a kid, I tied bits of bacon on a string and let catfish swallow it. I didn’t have to pull out the hook because I didn’t have any. I just yanked on the string and, Presto!, out came the bacon from the fish’s throat and ready to catch another one. I graduated to live shrimp for trout and redfish as well as pinfish and croakers to catch snapper and amberjack. But these days I’ve turned into a lure snob. Not that I’m against the concept of live bait. I’m just too lazy and cheap to go buy it. Plus, the challenge of using lures makes fishing harder. And, isn’t that the main idea of fishing, to make our lives more difficult? It’s also creating that ultimate challenge, which is why people fly fish. That, and all the spiffy gear.
You could say that fly fishing is the purest form of our sport. It’s really more of an artform, like an outdoor, wet ballet. And it’s all about lures, hand tied by brilliant craftsmen with hunchbacks and wire-rimmed glasses. Or some factory in China. Whatever. Like everything else in life, fishing is an evolutionary process. And, at the end of that complex DNA code is a middle-aged dude in a custom khaki vest with thousands of dollars in gear, throwing flies at dumb fish. It all sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it? But damn it, it’s so much fun that when we catch one, we jump around and howl like wild monkeys. Hmm. Maybe evolution is a farce.