My fish story
by Donald K. Sanders
My friend Steve has been trying to get me to go fishing with him for the last couple of years. The truth is, I’m not much of a fisherman compared to Steve. He goes all the time and he’s one of those guys that has all the latest equipment that can turn a simple fishing trip into a scientific expedition. It seems that he always catches fish and he always enjoys himself somehow.
Well, he kept bugging me and bugging me until last year I told him that I would buy a fishing license after the new year. “When after the new year?” “When after the new year?” He’d ask over and over. I told him, “Probably around January.”
So, from June of last year until January of this year he would ask me every day when I was going to get my fishing license. I’d scratch my head and act like I was thinking for a while and then I’d say, “Probably sometime after New Year’s.”
Sometimes I would tag along with Steve when he went fishing. Let me tell you, that is an adventure in itself. It seems that Steve thinks that fish hang out only in spots that are hard to access. His favorite fishing spot is just past the dam at Lake Berryessa. This particular spot has a small parking space, just big enough for two vehicles. Steve always parks in the middle of the space so I either have to park with my rear end hanging out in the middle of the road or park at another spot a half-mile up the road and walk back.
From where you park the vehicles to where the water is, there’s a cliff with big giant boulders balanced precariously against each other. Should you step on the wrong bolder it would roll down the cliff, taking you with it. Along the way it would crush you so that your guts would make you stick to the boulder all the way to the bottom of the cliff. At that point, the boulder splashes into the lake and goes to the bottom with you stuck to it with your intestines sticking out of your butt.
So far this hasn’t happened, but I kid you not when I say that Steve can find the scariest spot where the giant boulders will move if you put your hand on them too hard. That’s exactly where he will sit and fish. Right under that boulder. I would ask him why he had to sit at this particular spot and he would answer, “This is where the fish are, dummy!” In the 20 or so years that I have known Steve, I have never seen him catch a fish.
Sometimes, if I don’t go with him, he’ll send me a picture of himself holding a fish that looks exactly like a cardboard picture of a bass or he would text me saying he had caught a 24 incher. Later I’d go to his house to see the fish and he always tells me that our friend Terry took it home and ate it. Rrr-i-g-h-t.
OK, January passes, February passes, and March begins. Time goes on and on until last Saturday comes. It was right after Friday I think. Anyway, I went to the Berryessa Sporting Goods Store and told the guy I want a fishing license. He wants 10 pieces of ID and 50 bucks. In return, I got two pieces of plastic paper that’ll never degrade back to nature, ever. One piece of plastic paper is two feet long. It made my wallet so fat that it looks like I have $50,000 in it.
Steve wanted to know why I got my license all of a sudden, so I told him about how my wife was having her book reading club at my house that very night. There was going to be 60 or 70 women at my house talking about some stupid book till the wee hours of the night. I said, “Lets go fishing tonight. Right now.” Steve was so excited, I thought he was going to pee his pants.
A couple of hours later, I went to pick him up and he had so much fishing stuff that the back of my truck was dragging on the street, throwing sparks. He had three tarps, a little stove to make soup, a giant propane heater, 10 fishing poles, two coolers, (one for bait and one for 10 Frescas for him and one Pepsi for me) a pack of crackers with cheese and pickles, four dry soups like you get in jail, six flashlights, a lantern, a one million watt spotlight that was brighter than the sun, a coat, two rain suits, two folding chairs, 10 bungee cords, two 50 foot ropes, four metal poles to make a lean-to that will block the night wind, a little pan to make the soup in, and I don’t know what else. I was afraid to ask.
Needless to say, Steve didn’t catch a single fish and by the time he got his fishing spot all set up, it was time to pack it up and put it back in the truck because we were soaking wet and freezing. I, of course, caught a huge fish. A marlin, I think, but I let it go because it’s the right thing to do. We got lost on Grizzly Island Road on the way back home so it took two hours to go exactly 50 miles.
I don’t think I will ever go fishing again. Ever!