Saturday, March 27, 2010

The True History of Snagging (Honest!)

I was looking at new marlin lures the other day. They were on sale for 50 bucks apiece. Are you saying “wow great price” or are you choking and thinking “you gotta be out of your mind!!!?” If you’re thinking the latter, you may be one of those non-fisherpersons out there that just don’t understand the dynamics of fishing. Ya wanna catch fish? Ya gotta have gear.

Historically, men have spent their last dime on any new equipment that might help catch more fish. In fact the famous Viking fisherman, Eric the Blue, (I read somewhere that he earned his name from an ice-fishing adventure that ended badly) bought a new ship every year. His favorite sales rep, Iven Ja-öber, always promised that each years’ new boats would be a guarantee to greatly improved catching rates. Eric, the eternal optimist, believed Iven but his fish-catching never improved. Finally Eric's wife Olga couldn’t take it anymore. She started screaming at him in front of his friends, “How can you spend our last dime on a new boat every year and still not catch fish?!” Boy was his face red! Being embarrassed in front of his friends made him so angry that he changed his name, quit fishing forever and started pillaging and plundering. He will never be remembered as a great fisherman but man could he pillage!

Men kept spending more money on fishing gear and boats each year without catching more fish. Of course if you listen to the tales told to the sound of lattes being steamed in the morning, you would be convinced that everyone was catching boatloads of fish with the exception of you. The ancient mariners fine-tuned their tales of monster fish they had battled. They could hold their listeners spellbound for hours with stories of epic proportion. However, they could not figure out how to answer their lovely wives when asked "Oh, you're catching monster fish? So where are they already. Don’t tell me they got away or you threw them back!!!" Something was rotten in Denmark but it wasn’t fish. Soon most of the wives were nagging their poor husbands mercilessly. The whole fishing fleet became so desperate that they hired an evil genius wizard to solve their problem. After several weeks of meditation and incantations, inspiration came. "If the fish won't bite the hook" he reasoned, "the hook will bite the fish!!" He told the fishermen that if they built a treble hook big enough, they could just yank it through the water and whatever fish happened to be in the way... FISH ON! The fishermen tested the invention and found that it worked far better than expected. Now they had actual fish to verify their tales of bravado. It became a secret joke among the Vikings. One would look at the other and say, “She’s nagging.” Naturally the new method took on the name “she’s nagging” and was eventually shortened to “snagging.”

Today we have sophisticated equipment to help us in our quest to conquer the elusive lunker. We have depth finders, fish finders, weather reports, moon and tide charts and every shape and color of lure that you could imagine. You can also buy over-sized treble hooks at any tackle shop in the world. It looks to me like we will continue to keep these hooks in our tackle boxes even in the face of fines and possible jail time until nagging is also outlawed.