March 19th, 2007

By James Castwell

I was going to name this column that but I would bring down the wrath of a major religion upon my pointy little head and I would not like that one tiny little bit. Maybe I can think of a different name as we go along. I have been watching the television set again and between the Academy Awards and the political stuff am painfully aware that some of us may be in deep do-do, even deeper than usual. Something about footprints, or hand prints or fingerprints or dead fish.

It didn't take me long to figure out the answer for the problem that seems to be bothering so many these days; not eat beans and refrain from exhaling as well. Those two things and the fact that cows even exist are the cause of most of what ails all of civilization and the others too. But as of yet no one has noticed a even more gnarly and truly 'troubling' ( I use that word as I have heard the politicians use it a lot and they are really smart guys) problem.

Aldo Leopold said (something like ), "Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints." It seems these days leaving footprints is not looked upon with much favor. Especially if you have done it in duplicate, like with carbon-paper. For those of you confused by that term, look it up, it means to leave more than your fair share I think. Anyway, it is not considered nice to leave footprints. Big news. My mother made that rather plain several years back. Went for me, my Pa and the dog(s). Why the politicians are getting all worked up is a bit puzzling. Maybe they didn't pay attention to their mothers when they were young, I don't know.

So. Those of you who fish, and more specifically, fly fish, and even more to the point, fling 'em back (practice catch-and-release), pay attention here. You have been causing the termination of the life of some of the little critters and you know darn well you have. Well meaning, as I know you are, it does happen; and we're all to some degree guilty of it.

What should we call it. It needs a name. The taking of a life of a fish and not doing something to balance it in return. What can we call it if we pay something forward to offset the degradation of our dastardly acts. What's even more important, where can we pay money to some organization to assuage our now guilty consciences? Oh no! There is not such place. No organization has been invented. No company has been born that will take our money and make us feel just dandy about the fact that we boink a fish or two on occasion.

Fear not. Languish in guilt no more. Dig out your credit card and rejoice. Yours truly J Castwell to the rescue once again. I will see to it that a company gets started where you can send money and make yourself feel good all over. Just deep down, giggle and wiggle and rally in the new found joy of taking yourself off the hook (so to speak) about killing fish and not making up for them.

We need an outfit that will grow fish for you and stuff them back into the ecology at the same rate you snuff the little sucka's out of existence. You be the judge. Be brutally honest. For every fish you smuck, send in about five bucks (hey, these things aren't easy to grow' and they are slippery too) and we will grow one to replace it for you. You can sleep well, Castwell is here, and I'm here to help. I was going to call it, "Crappy Offshoots" but something about the name just did not work for me. No, I needed a different one.

Fishy Ecological Department Under Production. Or FED UP for short. Yes my good friends, send in your cards (credit) and letters (with money) to FED UP and in short order we will get the little tykes hatched and swimming on their way to those streams and lakes to replace those poor unfortunate fish you have blitzed in the past and will continue to open up a can of 'Whappo' in the future. No more will you be guilty of leaving a big footprint along any stream, figuratively or otherwise. You too can say, you are 'FED UP' and proud of it. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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