The creator of Archy & Mehitabel, Freddy the Rat, Warty Bliggens the Toad,
The Old Soak and other timeless American treasures


By Don Marquis

Fishing is a delusion entirely surrounded by liars in old clothes.

Its chief purpose is to develop unoccupied human beings in the art of sleeping with both feet in a puddle in the hot sun with a can of worms.

Fishermen are called Nimrods. "Nim" is from the Latin meaning "dumb" and "rod" is from the Sanskrit, meaning "all wet".

Fish are divided into four general classes: Salt water, fresh water, store and conversational. Fishermen are divided into many classes, but none of them count.

Salt water fishing is the same as unskilled labour and is relatively of no importance. It is to fresh water fishing what chicken stealing is to quail hunting, and is indulged in only by anglers with the milder form of insanity.

For the real violent cases fresh water fishing is alone designed. When a fisherman gets so crazy he will believe in anything he becomes a fresh-water enthusiast and goes after trout, bass, pike, pickerel, and illusions. The salt water angler always gives a fish credit for having a little common sense and invariably baits a hook with something a fish can eat.

The fresh water fisherman, however, believes fish are as foolish as prime ministers, congenital idiots and people who put vinegar and sugar on lettuce salads. At rare intervals he will use digestible bait, but his great delight is to row around a lake with a suitcase full of funny looking objects known as "plugs," "wobblers," and "flies".

"Plugs" look something like cucumbers, bananas, darning needles, gill pickles and carrots with a spring rash. After a "plug" is shaped and coloured, a few hooks and spangles are added to it. It is then thrown to the fish in the belief that they have an insatiable appetite for ornaments taken off old uniforms of Napoleon's guards.

"Spinners" are assorted pieces of tin with hooks fore and aft. The man who invented them had an idea fish ate earrings for breakfast, identification disks for lunch and suspender buckles for dinner.

A very excellent bass "spinner" is made by taking a fireman's shield, dyeing it red, tying it to a pair of boy's skates, attaching it to a mouse trap and dragging it through the water at a speed not exceeding twenty miles an hour.

The general effect of these "plugs" and "spinners" upon the fish is the same as that produced when you drag a red, white and blue banana in front of a horse and try to make him think it's an oat, or drag a set of false whiskers in front of an emaciated kitten in the conviction it will mistake it for a saucer of cream.

       --Golden Book magazine in June 1927 (p. 790).

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Don Marquis