Essay by Lindsay Schumacher and illustration by Sam Morton
If you are a serious fisherman, you know the struggle is real for finding an ideal fishing buddy. It is not that your standards are too high – it is the fact that the world is overrun with annoying anglers such as these:
“Hot Spot Mafioso” – he knows the coordinates of every sweet spot and hot rig from here to Cuba. His numeric gold is protected with a paranoia and fierceness commensurate to that of a mob boss. Be forewarned to never get caught glancing upon his Garmin, or your ticket aboard the kingpin’s vessel will be revoked quicker than you can say “capo.”
“Decked-Out Dan” – he pulls up to the boat ramp with a glitter-laden bass boat perfectly matching his red Chevy that he can’t back up to save his life (which lends to his other nickname – Jackknife Joe – but that’s for another article) donned from head to toe in full pro-circuit attire with gear rivaling that of Bill Dance. Yet he has never fished a competition or tournament. Ever.
“Lurker Larry” – he constantly fiddles in his tacklebox, nibbles on snacks, and plays on his phone while you have gone through every type of lure, cast until the onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and looked at the Lowrance so much you’re seeing double. You FINALLY snag a nice one and then he stealthily reaches for his rod and nonchalantly casts within inches of your lucky spot. Also known as the “Honey Hole Bandit,” he is completely convinced that no one is privy to his dawdling charade.
“Delusional Duke” – he can get your heart pumping like no other. You see a small school of bait fish. His super-polarized Costas enable him to catch a glance of the colossal mammoth hot on their trail. He commences to an Emmy-ranking performance after the set of each hook – grunting, arching his back, exhaustively reeling, while simultaneously yelling for the net to be ready – only to pull up a shiner.
“Ace the Master Angler” – he has not had a nibble all day yet feels obliged to give a lengthy dissertation of every rookie mistake you have made along with the exact reasons why you are not catching any keepers. If you have the audacity to bring the irony of the situation to his attention you will immediately be met with a seemingly well-practiced rhetoric insisting that you are in fact his bad luck charm but out of sheer nobility, he has not mentioned it until now. At weigh in, he proceeds to proclaim that your team would have won the tournament if it weren’t for the lunker you let get away.
Honorable Mention goes to:
“Social Sam” – he cracks open a cold one as soon as you push the throttle. To him an idle motor means it is time to talk and he is completely oblivious of being the sole participant in the conversation. When reminded that his amplifying chatter is spooking the fish, he wholeheartedly apologizes then immediately begins another octave scale ascent.
Lindsay Schumacher is an outdoors freelance writer and marketing/public relations consultant. She is an Alabama native with a love for the outdoors and telling stories. When she is not working or volunteering, she can be found in nature either fishing, clay shooting, hunting, or on her paddleboard.