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Not Fishing

Copyright (c) 1997, South Knox Bubba, All Rights Reserved

As young river rats growing up on the banks of the Tennessee River, my buddy Donny Ray and I have fished for and caught just about every known species of fish (and a few mutations as yet unclassified) using every legal and quasi-legal method known.

Several years ago we noticed a severe decline in the fisheries of the Tennessee River and its various impoundments and tributaries.  Bait shops and sporting goods stores up and down the Tennessee Valley were going out of business and being replaced by muffler shops and parking lot velvet art dealers. 

Environmentally minded corporations upstream tried to avert ecological disaster by releasing exotic chemical compounds to enhance the river’s natural supply of heavy metals, acids, and alkalis. Civic minded communities joined in the effort by releasing their nutrient laden effluents directly into the river. Even the farm animals, sensing impending environmental disaster, pitched in by contributing their organically produced phosphates and nitrates in an attempt to nourish the river back to health.

When none of these heroic efforts seemed to help, Donny Ray and I began to wonder if our unparalleled sporting achievements were responsible for this alarming situation. Being environmentally sensitive types, we decided to help out by inventing a new sport called “Not Fishing”.

The object of  Not Fishing is simply to go fishing and not catch any fish. There aren’t really any rules, and you can use the same familiar equipment and techniques with which you are accustomed.  Not Fishing is easy to learn and provides hours of enjoyment for outdoorsmen of all ages and persuasions. 

Today’s rapidly expanding urban/industrial areas offer great opportunities for Not Fishing. Nothing can quite compare to the beauty of the rising sun’s multicolored reflection from an fresh oil slick or a recent chemical spill.  If you are lucky enough to locate such a spot you are just about guaranteed Not Fishing success. 

The stagnant, scum coated coves and junk laden backwaters of many urban lakes are also great Not Fisheries. Such waters are easily accessible by large numbers of the population, and are great for novice Not Fishermen. Look for the telltale phosphorescent green hue of a recent algae bloom for a good spot to try. Although there is an increased risk of catching genetically altered species of mutant carp, these waters are frequently populated by the flotsam and jetsam of modern society. This significantly increases your chances of snagging an old TV set, refrigerator, or bucket seat. A discarded fifteen inch snow tire puts up quite a battle, especially when taken on light tackle.

For the real Not Fishing challenge, try a cool, clear mountain stream freshly stocked with rainbow trout straight from the hatchery. Use light line and a number 8 hook baited with a fat, juicy nightcrawler or canned whole kernel corn or a combination of both.  Use a tiny bb sized split-shot or no weight at all and cast up into the rushing water at the head of a deep pool. Let it drift down into the cool, green depths until it begins bumping lightly along the bottom. Not catching a fish in this situation is the ultimate test of even the most advanced Not Fishing skills. This is a highly sophisticated form of Not Fishing that requires years of practice, and is not recommended for the beginning Not Fisherman.

Some less scrupulous Not Fisherman in this situation will use a wispy fly rod with a tiny gnat sized fly attached to a nearly invisible leader. They put on silly hats and wallow and thrash around in the water, frantically whipping their delicate offering around in the air until they snag it in the trees on either side of the bank. Although amusing for spectators, this is not a very challenging Not Fishing technique and is usually practiced only by wealthy elitists such as doctors, lawyers, and union plumbers. 

Taking your wife, significant other, or girlfriend along can dramatically improve your chances of Not Fishing success.  She knows every possible way to make noise in a boat and can provide valuable Not Fishing tips on missing strikes, not setting the hook, and not checking or setting the drag. She is also an expert at not handling the net if you are unfortunate enough to get a fish up to the side of the boat. In the unlucky event that the fish actually start biting she will demand, at that exact moment, to leave RIGHT NOW OR ELSE!, or will at least need to go ashore for a comfort break. 

Not Night Fishing is another great way to enjoy Not Fishing. Stumbling around in your boat in the dark produces a great deal of noise, and casting into trees and running your boat aground in the dark also contribute to your chances for Not Fishing success.  The added benefits of not being able to see the water, the fish, your lure, the shore, or your (not) fishing buddy in the dark enhance the overall Not Night Fishing experience.

In the unlikely event that you actually manage to catch a fish, all is not lost. You can give the fish one last sporting chance by actually cleaning and eating it. Depending on the chemical makeup of the water from which your catch is taken, this can add an exciting element of danger and risk to an otherwise disappointing Not Fishing trip. Plus, it might help even the odds for your fish’s surviving family and friends who managed to evade capture this time.

As Donny Ray and I discovered years ago, Not Fishing is a unique and relaxing form of outdoor recreation. Fortunately for Modern Civilization, the relentless advance of Human Progress marches on to create new Not Fishing opportunities every day. With your help and the continued support of our Government and Big Corporations, we can continue our efforts to ensure that future generations have an opportunity to also enjoy Not Fishing.

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