Beware of Strangers On Planes With Rod Tubes

Fatty stopped in the aisle a few rows in front of me to hoist a big roller into the overhead bin. He grabbed the rod tube he’d set on his seat and stuffed that in, too. He must have asked someone the same questions, I thought.

At baggage claim, I made the mistake of asking Fatty about his fishing plans. He lived for fly fishing, he said, for the striped bass, bluefish, and blackfish back home. Blackfish? Should have been my first warning.

We wound up on the same shuttle going to the same hotel. He asked how I planned to fish. By kayak. He patted his gut and said that wasn’t for him. Then he dropped the hammer, Would I like to split a fishing guide? Don’t do it, I thought. But the idea of tapping into some local knowledge at half price gained momentum.

I let Fatty take the bow first. His idea, after all. We’d trade off after each legitimate shot, hookset or no. We came across a school of bonito. Get me closer, Fatty yelled. Cast, the guide yelled back. So he did, making several false casts to execute a perfectly fine loop that unfurled his fly after 20 feet. About 30 feet too short. Closer, he yelled again, get me closer. The bonito disappeared. Not a legitimate shot, said Fatty, since we didn’t get close enough.

This is a bad time to question decisions.

Fatty proved as generous with his tip as he did with his casting distance. The guide looked pissed. Fatty didn’t care, he pays for results.

Back in the lobby Fatty gave me his card. Let’s go fishing back home he said. Sure thing, sure thing. I waited until he walked out of sight and dropped his card in a waste basket. Fool me once…

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