I beg leave to call the attention of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to one of the major literary problems
of our time. I refer, of course, to people who write stories in outdoor
magazines about epic battles with steelhead trout or smallmouth bass or
muskellunge and then neglect to mention the size and weight of the fish.
I have caught a couple of fish myself, by accident or by design, and
when a writer expects me to string along while he parlays a few runs and
jumps into several thousand words before bringing his fish to net or gaff,
the least he can do is to tell me the dimensions of the creature, so that I can
compare it with fish I've had personal dealings with.
By Ed Zern
I would like to suggest that UNESCO draw up a Table of Maximum Wordage,
based on size, weight and species, water conditions, tackle, etc. (for example:
22 in, 3 lb. 4oz brown in medium fast water; 4 oz 8 ft. split bamboo rod;
3X leader point; No. 12 light-wire Model Perfect hook - maximum 375 words)
and that any writer who exceeded the allowed wordage should be subject to
a day in the pokey for each excess word.
For writers failing to provide detailed information as to length, girth and weight of
fish caught, or estimated weight of fish lost, the penalty would be not less than
six months at reasonably hard labor.
Naturally, writers would be allowed a margin of, say, 25 percent for exaggeration.
Even the United Nations can't make honest men out of fishermen. ~ Ed Zern
Credits: From How To Catch Fishermen, by Ed Zern,
Published by Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1951.
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