I am, quite possibly, the world’s worst fly fisherman. A lack of patience and complete technical incompetence have combined within me to create a sort of natural repellent to native and non-native trout species. I’m heavy-footed, loud and can tie only one knot: the kind that comes untied as soon as you tug on it. What’s that knot called again?
Anyway, fish usually elude me, and yet, I love the practice of rejection. Standing ankle deep in cold water, the repetitive motion of the cast, the quiet of the creek…even my profanity has a rhythm to it, bursting forth every minute and a half when I get my line stuck in rhodo.
Ah, fly fishing. I need all the help I can get. Thankfully, SweetWater Brewing Company has my back. They’ve created a new program centered around their limited edition fish/puzzle cans that helps stock local streams with trout. Because really, fishing is a numbers game. The more fish in that river, the better chance I’ll have at tricking one of them to come home with me for dinner.
Show Sweetwater a picture of your stacked fish cans on one of those handy social media platforms and they’ll stock a trout into a local stream. It’s a cool program that has anglers from all over the Southeast posting pics of their sick cans. Even President Jimmy Carter has gotten in on the action, posting his own picture with a stack of fishy Sweetwater IPAs in his hands.
Carter actually played a significant part in my development as a horrible fisherman. While he was president, he established the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Shortly after that designation, I learned to fish on that river. Back then, the ‘Hooch was over-crowded with tubers and over-polluted by assholes, but I vividly remember landing a massive rainbow on one of my first outings. I was using a cheap spin rod that my dad set up for me. He had a smallmouth bass that he caught before I was born mounted and hung on the wall of his office. As my father and I reeled the fish in together, my 8-year-old mind immediately starting clearing space in my own room for this new fish that would certainly be trophy size. It would be a glorious, great-white-hunter kind of trophy. I’d probably start wearing those safari-style khaki vests and carrying a knife. That’s what great fishermen do, after all.
The fish crested the water as we pulled it close. My father knelt down, grabbing the massive trout with his left hand and wrestling the hook loose with his right. It was massive. I started to wonder how long it would take to mount a fish. Could we have it done today? So, I could take it to school on Monday?
Of course, as soon as the fish was free from the hook, it slipped from my dad’s hands. Turns out, I come from a long line of really bad fishermen. If we had a family crest, it would be of a middle-aged man swearing at a fish as it swims away.
Being such a poor angler stings. But these new cans from Sweetwater help. Would it be weird if I mounted them on the wall in my office?