Based on the international attention received at this desk following the publication of what was clearly a potentially Pulitzer Prize-winning article, I conclude that you can never be certain what you willreel in when you throw out a line.
One week ago this revered space was occupied by a cleverly written column by your vaunted author. The subject was professional catch-and-release carp fishing, a dubious deed carried out by what I believed to be a growing number of bobber-brained angling lunatics.
Well, I've heard from some of them. Fortunately for this author they have a wonderful sense of humor, which at least partially explains why they fish for carp. However, as it turns out, they "enjoy catching fish that outweigh the family dog."
Submitted Photo - - Carp for sale at a Chinese market.
OK, I get that, but as errant as my casting sometimes is, I'll never admit to catching a dog even for comparison purposes. Nevertheless, I've heard somewhere that my neighbor's dog can't be dragged over the fence on 10-pound test line.
One of the e-mails I received in response to my earlier column was from the very honorable Jason Bernhardt, co-founder of Wild Carp Companies. I know he is honorable because he thanked me for writing, albeit in somewhat unflattering terms, about his beloved sport. He even invited me to "give carping a try some day." I'm considering it.
I also received questionable correspondence from one Tony Cartlidge who inquired if I was going to start some sort of movement to have all carp fishermen locked up. Of course not. That would be silly and way over the top. However, if someone else does I could be tempted to assist.
Mr. Cartlidge if that is indeed his real identity claimed I would be shocked to learn that "70,000 lunatics in the United States have chosen to regularly and frequently pursue this piscatorial pariah," and that "we consider them a sport fish too."
Admittedly, I had to refer to a dictionary to look up a few of those words. As it turns out, "lunatic" is defined as someone "wildly foolish."
Further evidence of that designation comes from Mr. Cartlidge himself who stated: "We put 'em back so other people can also enjoy what passes for sport in our fish-battered brains."
In support of Mr. Cartlidge, it should be noted he kindly offered me to view a free subscription of Carp Pro Magazine at (www.uscarppromagazine.com). Perhaps I would, but I've somehow misplaced the address.
Also, in a completely unsolicited attack, Mr. Cartlidge challenged my "responsibility" as a journalist, saying I should "warn the public about the dangers posed by a bunch of Euro-Hillbilly types gripping and grinning a trash fish ... and then having the audacity to post pictures in the sort of magazine that allows them to get away with that sort of thing."
Hey, I was just trying to disclose the reckless behavior of carp-seeking loonies in the event that a few of my highly revered readers may wish to slip out in the dark of night and actually give carp fishing a try. What the heck, do it in broad daylight. This is America!
My previous carp column also resulted in the receiving of a series of photographs taken at "typical wet markets" in China. In that country carp are a very desired fish and are available at markets whenever possible. Lately though, according to correspondence I've received, there is actually a shortage of carp in China. You can see where I'm going with this, can't you?
Yes, given the current state of financial affairs in this country, why don't we recruit the 70,000-plus carp fishing fanatics to fill the empty carp counters at countless Chinese markets? If those guys are as good as they say they are, it won't be long before China will owe us a yuan or two. I'd get actively involved at that point.
Unfortunately, I suspect some candidate will grab this idea and claim it for his or her own, and then I will really begin harping about carping.