Fantasy fishing

Everyone needs a fantasy - Andy Warhol

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Bakers Brook

I'm quite sure a lot of fisherfolk have fantasies about fishing in faraway places.

Maybe they would fantasize about fishing in New Zealand, or Alaska, or Patagonia.

I fantasize that I'm in Newfoundland, all by myself.

I fantasize that I am thirty kilometres back in the bush, fishing some little trout brook, and I'm having a ball. I don't have a license, nor a guide.

Two fishery officers come out of the woods and approach me.

One asks how I'm doin'. The Other asks if I'm a resident Newfoundlander.

"Well now," I says, "I'm doin' just fine. I'm hooking a fish on every cast and they're still alive and maybe wiser. It's a perfect day, cloudy, breezy enough to keep the flies away, and I'm only halfways down the brook."

The Other asks again if I'm a resident Newfoundlander.

"Well now, I guess it all depends. I know these rivers like the back of my hand. I never forgets the road to a river nor where the fish lay. The guides like and respect me. I have a surrogate Newfie family, so I guess maybe I am."

"Are you or aren't you, bye," asks the Other.

"Nope, I guess I'm not," I says.

"Do you have a license?" asks One.

"Yes," I says, producing from the top pocket of my vest a 1956 license for fishing a river in England.

One and the Other look at it with curiosity. I can tell they don't see the humour in it.

"A Newfoundland trout license," barks the Other.

"Nope, I don't," I say with a sad voice.


"Don't youse know youse can't fish 800 hundred metres from a main highway without a guide and youse needs a license too," says One.

"Yes I know," I says. "I should've bought a license but the store wasn't open at seven this morning. As for the guides, I know they don't much go for trout fishing, it's the salmon they're after. And when I'm with a guide I feel like I have to get them home for supper with their wife and kids, or whatever. It may only be me but I'm thinking it's the right thing to do. I reckon the guides have a pretty boring life and they need a break from us fools, but I'd really like to stay here all day."

"Yeah," says the Other, "but what happens if youse breaks a leg back here, it could be days before someone finds you."

"I know," I says, "but if I had to die anywhere then this is where I'd want to be, back in the bush on a Newfie trout brook. I mean, where else would I want to be?"

One and the Other look at each other with a friendly Newfoundland frown on their faces and then slowly turn back to me.

"Do you know your way out of here?" asks One.

"Like I was born here, sir," I reply.

"Get a license then," says the Other.

"Thank you," I say, and turn back to the brook as they walk away.

There! A trout rose to a caddis! Time to change flies.


P.S. You can always tell who's a Newfoundlander when you get to heaven because he's the one that wants to go home.

Tales Casting contest I Tangier River I Boyhood memories I Newfie salmon I Muddler's memories I Does a bear? I First ever salmon I The Tickmobile
U-Fish I 4 a.m. I Lyin seasun I Anecdotes I Fishgirl salmon I A natural fly I Main Event I Honeymoon I Vernon I Leslie I Coyote? I Newfie trout I Fantasy

Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997