The liars page

I fish, therefore I lie

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A Reminder to all Trout Fishermen:
And when you prepare to spin a tale, see that your hands do not tremble, nor your eyes dart to and fro, and do not permit your hands to wander hither and thither, but hold one carelessly over your heart, as if proclaiming an oath, and the other open in front of you, as if to say "See, I conceal nothing."
And when you commence to speak, take great care to do so in a voice neither excessively loud, nor-much meek, for just as you would not choose to drive a small nail with a sledge, or a bolt with a muffin, so too must you suit the tone to the purpose.
And as to the contents of your little story, be guided thus: expand, but do not entirely invent. It is blasphemy and pure folly to usurp the role of the Creator and cause to appear upon the waters some imaginary monster which, perchance, snatched away your pole, made mincemeat of your leggings, mouthed a pony, and bore away your luggage on it's back.
But if you gently take one of His trout, and in a spirit of generous indulgence cause it to gain a foot or two of extra measure in the course of the telling, you will have the favor of your listeners, for truly the most mammoth specimen of a fish with which men are aquainted is far easier to swallow, as it were, than the tiniest exemplar of one unseen.
Isaak Walton 1653

Never spoil a good fish story by telling the truth.
Doris Ewart 1973

The lyin seasun is upon us.
Jack Pine Joe to Gordon MacQuarrie on the opening day of trout season

God give me strength to catch a fish,
So big that even I,
When telling of it afterwards,
Have no need to lie.

He angled in the babbling brook
With all his angler's skill.
He lied about the fish he took
And here he's lying still.
Epitaph found in New York

Lord, suffer me to bear with grace
The lies I've listened to.
Of fish, their size, and favourite flies and all such Bally Hoo.
From a letter from Joe Kendall of Kamloops, BC to J. Edson Leonard in 1949. The origin is unknown, but is thought to be English because of the spellings. Bob VanAmburg.

Fishermen are born honest, but they get over it.
Ed Zern

A truthful fisherman is indeed a most uninteresting person.

I fish, therefore I lie.

Early to bed, Early to rise, Fish like hell, And make up lies.

Lyin' is lyin', be it about fish or money, and is forbidden by the Scripter. Billy Matison's got to give up fish-lyin', or he won't never get into the Kingdom.
Ellis Parker Butler

Anglers ... exaggerate grossly and make gentle and inoffensive creatures sound like wounded buffalo and man-eating tigers.
Roderick Haig-Brown

All fishermen are liars; it's like an occupational disease with them like housemaid's knee or editor's ulcers.
Beatrice Cook

It's not that all fisherman are liars, it's just that a lot of liars fish.

The greatest joy in fishing comes not fro the fish you catch, but from the lies you tell about the ones that got away.
From The Horse in My Garage and Other Stories by Patrick F. McManus
I make it a rule never to weigh or measure a fish I've caught, but simply to estimate its dimensions as accurately as possible, and then, when telling about it, to improve those figures by roughly a fifth, or twenty percent. I do this mainly because most people believe all fishermen exaggerate by at least twenty percent, and so I allow for the discounting my audience is almost certain to apply.
Ed Zern

I never lost a little fish---
Yes, I am free to say.
It always was the biggest fish
I caught, that got away.
Eugene Field

Fish are always two inches longer,
if not better than that,
before they are caught.
It is a very remarkable fact.
Ben Hur Lampman

We ask a simple question
And that is all we wish:
Are fishermen all liars?
Or do only liars fish?
William Sherwood Fox

I never met a fisherman in my life who would tell you a lie.
Luther Corhern

Even eminent chartered accountants are known, in their capacity as fishermen, blissfully to ignore the differences between seven and ten inches, half a pound and two pounds, three fish and a dozen fish.
William Sherwood Fox

Fishing will do a lot for a man but it won't make him truthful.

He was an honest business man....
But once a year a madness comes
And seizes on this man
And shakes him up and inside out,
As only madness can.
And makes this good man's honest tongue
From Truth's dull pathway stray
To babble weird tales all about
The one that got away!

Like all fishermen, I am a liar.
Even to call myself a fisherman is a kind of a lie, in fact: a lie about lying. I can barely fish, would not pretend otherwise, and so hardly deserve to lie about it. But naturally the most accomplished liars about fishing are often the worst fishermen, and oddly, this stands to reason in the vast economy of exaggeration that Izaak Walton called "the Brotherhood of the Angle."
Mark Kingwell 2003

My thoughts on the Mark Kingwell quote ...
Note the word exaggerate. I like that word better than liar. Fishermen don't lie, they simply exaggerate. And there's two areas in which we exaggerate, quantity and size.
I have come across fishermen that even if a fish looks at their fly it is added to the total of lost fish (especially if it's a salmon).
And, if the fish takes the fly and immediately spits it out it is counted as what is termed a "long distance release."
If the fish takes the fly and he's on for more than five seconds before throwing the hook then it's counted as being landed and is added to the total.
If you are going to tally-up the number of fish you've hooked then I suggest you do not count them as you go along. At the end of the day, when you're sitting down to write in your logbook, replay the trip in your mind and see if you can remember where you hooked those fish and on what fly. I've found that my memory plays tricks on me and I sometimes create phantom fish that I hooked on previous trips to that particular river and my tally grows to a point that even I question the number.
Every lost fish is twelve inches or bigger. This measurement, if you're a male, is often based upon the exaggerated length of our private parts.
And, like many stores that advertise items as being $7.95 and up, all landed fish are 36 inches or smaller.

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Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997