Anything Fly Fishing

For Fishing Wisdom, Just Ask Jim

4 Mins read

I have often been referred to as a Renaissance man, probably because that’s when people think I was born.

Clearly, I am well seasoned and might have learned a thing or two during my years of pondering life’s truths while standing in trout water. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that readers send me inquiries hoping to share in that wisdom. I will answer a few of them here in case you might have had the same questions.

First, from Willy Duit in Cleveland:

“Jim, I have found a girl whose family owns property on a prime trout stream. Is this reason enough to ask her to marry me?”

My girlfriend owns property on a trout stream. Is this reason enough to ask her to marry me?

Willy, that’s a tough question. Generally, matters of the heart are best left to those involved but you are clearly a practical guy. So, on that basis, I’ll suggest a few more things for you to consider.

One, does her Dad own a fly shop that she might inherit down the road? In the meantime, is there a prospect of free tackle at the shop?

Two, does she own a trained bird dog?

Last, I suspect she is a better angler than you. Can your ego take it? I will point out that a spouse who catches more fish than you can sometimes be a point of contention down the road. But there are worse problems to have, especially if she will share her fishing secrets.

If all three of the above are affirmative, I am leaning toward “yes.” My second letter comes from Mose Lee Wet in Harrisburg:

“Jim, I bought a new waterproof watch that is rated to ten meters. Is that the depth or the distance I can drift when I fall in before it stops telling time?”

My watch is waterproof to ten meters. Is that depth or drift distance?

Mose Lee, I can help you out with some simple advice. If you are falling in that often, just leave the watch at home. Wearing no watch works just the same as one that is soggy.

Likewise, if you are sinking ten meters deep before coming back up, I highly recommend a wading belt.

My next letter comes from Havin A.Goodtime in Las Vegas:

“Jim, my buddies all decided it’s time for a weekend on the river. The plan is for us to sleep in my truck under the camper top. But there will be four of us in total. The forecast is for rain, and in a pinch, we can comfortably sleep three. How do we decide which person sleeps in the rain?”

Havin, this is a complicated question, but I’ll try to help you think it through.

For starters, it’s your truck so you are definitely inside. Now, it’s a matter of choosing one of the other three.

Sorting through this part requires a discernment not normally associated with fishermen. I will start by asking if you are all the same age. If one of the others is younger, consider telling him that it will be an adventure to sleep in the rain. Hemingway didn’t get to be hard and cold by spending all his nights at the Holiday Inn. Nothing says hard and cold like a night sleeping out in the rain.

Another consideration is whether one of your buddies snores badly. It is a proven fact that loud snorers scare off the bears, mainly because they sound very much like bears and usually really big ones. Therefore, he would be doing you a favor by guarding the campsite.

The final consideration is whether this is your first night on the trip and if you all will eat the same food. If one of your group stops at a gas station on the way and fills up on burritos or roller dogs, you might have your candidate for sleeping outside. Furthermore, the malady associated with such a diet has also been proven to drive off bears, as well as humans.

The last letter comes from Ben Skunkt in Saskatchewan:

“Dear Jim, I recently took up trout fishing and have joined TU and read all your books. Clearly, I am quite full of trout knowledge having done so. Yet, I never catch any fish. What am I doing wrong?”

Skunkt, this is a simple one to solve. If you have read all my books, you are light years ahead of most fishermen. Did you get my latest one, The Jon Boat Years? If so, then you clearly leave me with only one possibility.

If you also have my latest book, there is only one possibility why you are not catching fish.

When you say you joined TU did that by any chance stand for Trout Unlikely? Check your card. The organization you want is called Trout Unlimited. Big difference. Sign up with the right organization, check on my latest book, and you should be set.

I am too modest to claim I have a vast knowledge of the outdoors. Perhaps half that would be fair, but for those of you who want to tap my half-vast knowledge of trout and life, send your questions to Ask Jim at this website. As soon as I get off the river and play with the dog, I’ll get back to you.

Jim Mize has written five books of humor with advice he doesn’t highly recommend. You can purchase Jim’s latest book, The Jon Boat Years, at or buy autographed copies at

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