Below is an excerpt from a book I’m writing called Adventures in Fishing (for Men). The book is a satirical allegory about Christian attempts at evangelism. He who has ears to hear…
Someone once said that to catch fish you have to think like a fish. You have to understand what fish want, what they need, and what their goals are in life. If you can do this, you will catch more fish because you are meeting their needs. This is called “Need Oriented Fishing.”
When businesses try to meet the needs of their customers, they learn what the needs are by doing surveys and opinion polls. Fisherman should do something similar with fish. I wracked my brain for weeks trying to figure out how to run a survey with fish, and I tried all sorts of experiments. For example, in one experiment, I wanted to find out if fish preferred grasshoppers or worms. Traditionally, worms are thought to be the common food of fish, but in more contemporary times, I believe that fish like to eat the faster pasted grasshoppers. So I bought a bunch of each and dumped them in my swimming pool. Whichever bug got eaten first was the one that the fish preferred.
The only problem was that so far, even though I had previously put out signs and banners inviting fish to my pool, none had actually shown up. I now figured that if I actually put worms and grasshoppers in my pool, maybe fish would start coming. For all I knew, fish had been secretly visiting my pool during the night, and when they saw that I didn’t have any actual worms and grasshoppers, and went back to hiding. So now that I was putting actual worms and grasshoppers in the pool, maybe some fish would start showing up. I was, after all, meeting their tangible need in my pool.
One day, as I was trying to think of some other fish needs, I realized that the reason I didn’t understand fish was that I was not a fish. To learn how to meet the needs of fish, I had to learn to think like a fish. And to think like a fish, I had to start acting like a fish. But fish really don’t do a whole lot. It seems like all they do is eat and swim. But eating and swimming like a fish might help me learn to think like one. Maybe after I learn to eat and swim like a fish, I would be better equipped to understand the inner workings of the fish mind.
Eating Like a Fish
I began with eating like a fish. Since I believe that worms are the traditional food for fish, I resolved to eat a worm. I went down to the fishing store and bought a Styrofoam container of earthworms. When I got home, I asked my wife if she could cook the worms up in some sort of dish for dinner. She just laughed. I told her I wasn’t joking, and she laughed harder. Women just don’t understand fishing.
So I decided to eat a worm the old fashioned way, exactly like a fish: raw. I took a worm out of the container and held it up before my face. It was covered in wet dirt, and was squirming all over the place, as if it knew that I was about to eat it. I gagged a little just thinking about eating this dirty, slimy, squirming worm. And as I looked at it, I actually started to feel sad for the little guy. I cannot imagine it wanted to die a horrible death of getting crushed by my teeth, and then dissolving away in my stomach. The more I looked at this poor worm, the more convinced I became that eating a worm would be cruel. I am against cruelty to creation in all forms. So I threw the worms into the garbage can and sat down for dinner. My wife cooks the best veal.
But I still needed to eat like a fish. So the next day I went down the fishing store again, and this time I bought some fake rubber worms. The clerk said these worked almost as well as real worms. I went home and tried eating one of these, but it was it was so rubbery I couldn’t swallow it. I just chewed and chewed and chewed. I have no idea why fish like to eat these things. I eventually just had to spit it out.
I had struck out twice in trying to eat the same food fish eat. But I was a quick learner. I decided that although I should eat like a fish, I didn’t like fish food, and so I needed to find something that was somewhat like fish food, but which a human could eat. Trying to eating the rubber worm had reminded me a bit of gummy worms, which I really enjoyed eating. I especially like the sweet and sour ones which are covered in sugar. So I went down to the candy store and bought a whole bag of assorted gummy worms. Then I ate the whole bag. Fish sure are lucky to be able to eat such food all the time!
Swimming Like a Fish
After my success with eating worms, I decided to try swimming next. This really terrified me, because I hated water. I considered just going for a dip in my swimming pool, but since there were no fish in it yet, and since the water was terribly disgusting with all the dead fish from the pet store and the worms and grasshoppers I had thrown in there, I decided I would be better going to a natural body of water. There was obviously something wrong with my swimming pool, and I needed the real fish experience so I could learn how to get my fishing pool to attract more fish.
But which natural body of water should I try to swim in? At first I thought about going back down to the river, but I knew that if I got into the river, I would get swept downstream and might die. So I went to the public swimming area at the local lake instead. The nice thing about this swimming hole is that a lifeguard is present. I knew that if something went wrong in the lake, I could always get rescued by the lifeguard.
As I drove down to the lake, I was a little nervous. It wasn’t every day that one got naked in public. You see, fish don’t wear clothes, and I knew that if I was going to experience fishing like a fish, I would have to swim naked. It would be embarrassing, but if you are going to become a serious fisherman, you have to be willing to make a fool of yourself. It’s called being a “Fishing Freak.”
Swimming like a fish in the lake did not go well. I had just gotten all my clothes off and was wading in to the lake when people started screaming and yelling at me. Mothers frantically pulled their children from the water, and fathers yelled, “Get some clothes on!”
I was slowly wading in to the lake because the water was so cold, and had only gone up to my knees when the lifeguard ran over and tackled me! We both went splashing into the frigid lake water. I bet no fish has ever been tackled by a lifeguard.
“I’m not drowning!” I yelled at the lifeguard. “I wasn’t even up to my knees!”
“Pervert,” said the lifeguard. “There are children around.”
“Well, maybe they could learn a thing or two about fishing,” I told him.
“You are going to learn a thing or two down at the county jail,” he said. “The police are on their way.”
“Police? But I have a fishing license,” I said. “It’s back on the shore. Want to see it?”
Right then the police arrived and took me down to jail. I got charged with public indecency in the presence of minors.
Through the whole experience I did learn why fish never come out of the water: they don’t want to get tackled by lifeguards and taken to jail. This might explain why no fish had shown up at my swimming pool yet; they were too scared to come out of hiding.
So although swimming like a fish did not go nearly so well as eating like a fish, both experiences helped me accomplish my goal of learning to think like a fish. I learned that fish like sweet and sour candy, and that the reason they don’t come out of the water is because they are scared of going to jail. Yes, I could feel my mind becoming more “fishy” every second.
Chapters from Adventures in Fishing (for Men)Here is a list of posts from the book Adventures in Fishing (for Men):
- The Key to Fishing
- My First Day on the Water
- Stocking up on Fish
- Fishing Science
- How to Attract Fish
- The Fishin' Mission
- My Trip to the River
- Hooked on Fishing
- Letting Others Know You Fish
- Fishing Rites
- Meeting Fish Needs
- The Fishing Channel
- Attending the Fishing Club
- Learning the Fishing Lingo
- The Fishing Training Conference
- The Fishing Prayer
- Strategic Help In Training People to Love Angling Now
- Fishing in Africa
- World Fishing Training Center
- The Fishing Covenant
- Becoming a Published Fisherman