A Fish Tale

First you take a berry. Then you dangle it in the water. Count to ten and reel in your line. Sound simple? It is.

There's no need, we figure, to point this out to our Game and Fish friends. We do, however, talk with one of the boys about the catfish, and the fact that a sign posted next to the lake warns anglers to be careful about consuming too many of their catches -- traces of mercury, don't you know. The ranger says, "Listen, I ate a catfish out of here yesterday. It was the cleanest, nicest, freshwater fish I've eaten in a while."

I had never given much thought to catfish. The farm-raised versions you get at the fish market are decent for batter frying, but cats seem like a kids' fish -- they're the low-lifes of freshwater fish, and generally they're quite easy to catch. A survey conducted by Game and Fish indicates that 79 percent of freshwater anglers are interested in catching bass, 7 percent go for bream, and a mere 3.7 percent seek out the whiskered bottom-feeders. Nonetheless, any time Chino and his dad are ready, I'll be glad to go along. We're always looking for something new.

As we drive through the park, we see the Parks and Recreation workers who'd kicked us out of our spot. Zap flips them the bird and we snicker like teenagers.

A few days later Zap and Chino and I are back at our spot. We've decided to forsake the fat carp and go all out for channel catfish. If they're clean enough for a Game and Fish officer to eat, they're clean enough for us. Naturally, we don't catch a damn thing.

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