Admittedly, fishermen like to tip the scales in their favor by a few ounces, or pounds. Usually they do that by holding up their catch at arm's length toward the camera. The effect is that the catch looks much larger than it really is. Most other fishermen and photography buffs recognize that ruse immediately, but it doesn't mean the fish isn't a good catch.
There is a difference, though, when the same gig is played out on televised fishing shows where perspective is easy to ascertain. Still, that doesn't stop some show hosts from shamelessly trying to throw their viewers off the track.
Fishing show host: "Wow man! Holy cow! That's really sumthin'! Talk about your big surprises! Look at this! Whadda fish! Hold it up there! You've never caught anything like that before, did ja'?"
Seven-year-old boy: "Dad and I were throwing these back yesterday."
Fishing show host: "Throwing back trophies? What a jokester! You are a real fisherman now! Really, that fish is a monster! Right?"
Seven-year-old boy: "Please quit shouting or go slide down an ice hole."
OK, OK, I've made some of this up. Nevertheless, I'm very close to the truth here. I know - I watch these shows regularly.
A recent episode had one of my favorite exchanges between host and angler, and the editors left it in place. It was great.
Fishing show host: "Grab the Frabill! That's a heck of a fish! Wow! Holy cow man, I hope this net is big enough! Got it! Way to go! Hold that thing up there! Whadya' think? Seven, eight pounds?
Fisherman: "Maybe two."
Fishing show host: "Well it sure looks a lot bigger than that, but it's a good eater, right?"
Fisherman: "Maybe it's time for you to swim to shore."
Alright, I made up that last line but I can read what the fisherman was thinking. Terrific episode!
I know I probably watch more fishing shows than I should. To me, even a crummy fishing show trumps another lousy winter day. Hey, it's reality TV where the "experts" always put on a "fishing for dummies" segment. Sometimes you learn something about fishing. Sometimes you don't.
Fishing show host: "No fish yet, but let me show you the rig I'm fooling them with today. This is a specially scented Kadiddlehopper Whirly Gig 6 with a Trokar hook and a very complicated Trilene deluxe fashion knot with a tungsten dropper and 4-foot, 7-inch leader. The rod I'm using is perfectly matched for this presentation, a specially formulated space-flex Graphite composite, 8-footer, with an ultra pricey prototype baitcaster reel made by Rolex. It's a terrific setup and exactly what you need for these conditions. Anything up front there bud?"
Guest fisherman: "Yes, here's another right now. Too big to keep, won't fit in the livewell anyway. What's that? A dozen now?"
Fishing show host: "Hey, that's pretty good! Why don't you show the folks what presentation you are using up there?"
Guest fisherman: "Oh, it's just an old rusty spoon, can't really make out the color, and a 6-foot glass rod that was sitting in the corner of the garage. This reel is a mess, cranks OK though."
Narrator: "Please join us next week for another fishing adventure when we introduce our new host."
I'll probably be watching.