The FishWitch Journal -
May 2001 (c) Mary Riley
The most important piece of fishing gear is the hat.
Your hat does a lot more than protect your head from the
elements. It makes a personal statement. It lets all your fishing buddies know you're a
force to be reckoned with on the water. Even when you're all wet. Take my
friend Johnny, for instance. He is a very skilled fisherman. He's been successful for
years because he is serious about fishing. While his friends might be knocking back a few
cold ones while they fish, Johnny just fishes, and fishes hard. It doesn't matter what
species or what season, he always comes home with fish, because he takes it seriously. Yet
he will gladly share his knowledge with you and it's hard to find a nicer guy.
Johnny has this hat. It is a toque that he
wears all winter when he's icefishing. It is black and warm and really quite nondescript,
except for the top. Resting on top of this hat is this silly round pom-pom thing. As
Johnny talks to you, especially when he gets seriously animated, it is really hard to pay
attention to what he is saying because as his head moves, so does this stupid thing on top
of it. The more intense Johnny gets, the more this little ball bounces back and forth
crazily with the movement of his head, until you burst out laughing and tell him that if
he wants you to listen up he'd better take off the stupid hat.
Johnny has another hat that has "Fightin" Irish" emblazoned across the
front. I think he wears that one when he expects to land the really big ones.
Foxy is another example, and we don't call him that for nothing. He's as cagey as the fish
he hunts, and he's really good at playing the angles, literally. Especially with his
Foxy has a cap that he pushes back on his head and makes
him look like he's trying to figure out the state of the world when he's really thinking
about how many fish he'll say he caught. And how he's going to confuse everyone about how
many he really got. His favourite trick is to push the hat around on his head until it
sits in such a way as to make you think he's not all there. Then he limits out in fish and
you're looking at him in disbelief and he's gotcha.
Keith is another story altogether. He is
probably the most skilled fisherman of them all, but he never lets on. Sometimes he wears
one that makes him look like Ed Norton from the "Honeymooners". He usually wears
it when he wants to make you think he doesn't know too much about fishing.
Often he wears it around Foxy. Or he switches to his cap that says "Support Your
Local Hooker"--- the one he wears around the girls to see their reaction, and he does
it with a straight face. (That hat makes you wonder just what it is hes fishing for.)
Until you go fishing with him and don't have to wonder what's for supper.
As for me, I have a flyfishing hat with a brim
I can stick my bugs to and pull down to shade my eyes. The best thing about my hat is that
I can observe all my buddies when were fishing and file my observations in my head so
I can sit down later and write this column. The boys are a lot more relaxed when they
dont think anyone is paying attention to them, so I end up with lots of material.
They don't realize how their angling antics are being recorded until it hits print. By
the way---keep that little secret under your hat.