Mackerel Men

The sex appeal behind fly fishing

Fish in the sea or dicks in the sea

Tails up. Fat slaps. Wanna hook up?

The camo shirts, the arms’ strength required to reel it in, and ah yes, the prize. It’s just so huge. Out in the wild, alone on a pond or a river among bears in the nearby woods and mosquitos buzzing in your ears. Waking up at dawn, patiently waiting, on the lookout for the biggest trout. I’ll cook your catch. You’ll remove the bones. We’ll toast and feast because that was your hardest, thickest, and biggest one yet.

When I was around six years old, I used to go fishing. My grandpa, Pépé would bring me. We’d go together in the summer time for the village’s yearly festivities. He’d get two euros out of his pocket and I’d be handed a fishing pole by the lady in charge of the stand. Faced with a continuous artificial stream of colorful plastic ducks with metallic hooks on their heads, I fished away. The point of the game was to fill the basket in front of me with plastic duckies. And then, I’d hopefully win a prize. Although my dexterity was on par with the ducks’ floating, it wasn’t that easy. Pépé would give me a hand for the angling. The key was all in the speed and angle at which I should cast my hook at the duck’s head. Slowly, patiently, et voilà. The madame would wave to the prizes behind her and I’d walk away, beaming with my plastic tiara and clip on earring set.

Mackerel men are a type of vertebrate that live nearby water in the United States. More specifically, the specie can be located in New England, the great lakes of Michigan, neighboring Wisconsin, the Southeastern states of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Some presence has been detected near the Pacific in Washington. According to The New Yorker, they provide orgasms and sea bass.

Depending on the purpose, fishing can be categorized in three styles: catching fish using nets, trapping fish in traps, or using artificial lure to catch them on hooks. The later is also known as fly fishing, an exiting sport among fishermen and mackerel men. For newbies, here’s a little bit of vocabulary: the artificial lure is usually a fly, which is why the technique is named fly fishing. The line is what propels the weight-less fly forward, as the fly itself has no weight to be cast at any distance. There’s more importantly a specific technique that needs to be performed to cast the line. According to my four interviewers who passionately shared their pure love for fly fishing and TakeMeFishing.org, the angler normally holds the fly rod in the dominant hand and manipulates the line with the other close to the reel, pulling line out in small increments as the energy in the line, generated from backward and forward motions, increases. These are only the basics as it becomes more nuanced depending on the type of fish, which leaves you to choose between steelhead trout and salmon techniques, or the non-steelhead trout and smallmouth bass technique.

Why don’t mackerel men post photos of their muscular upper bods while holding a shrimp? Because it’s not about them. They only share a picture if it’s a really big fish. And really, it’s not for them or to prove anything about themselves. When they share a picture of a big tuna it’s because of their fascination for the fish and the specie as a whole. It’s about the tuna, not the shrimp.

Women are more than mermaids, they fly fish too. On a nice sunny warm day, they’ll go out to relax and unwind. Spending time in the great outdoors among family and friends, they won’t do a ton of catching but chatting. It’s about the experience, and the tuna — or shrimp — is just secondary according to polls from fishanywhere.com. However, there is a rise of resources and communities for young female anglers such as Women’s Flyfishing that is dedicated to helping women learn and enjoy the sport of fly fishing in a supportive and non-competitive environment. They believe that fly fishing can be experienced on many different levels and that one need not be an expert to appreciate the beauty of the fish and flies, the peace of the environment, and the adventure, fun and challenge of the sport. Mackerel men watch your sea bass, it’s getting more crowded along the banks.

The ones who invented, or at least wrote about fly fishing first, were the same guys who created aqueducts, amphitheaters and the Julian calendar, aka the Romans. From the texts of Claudis Aelianus, around 200 years A.D, we know that the Romans would fly fish on the Astraeus river in Macedonia using roosters’ feathers as bate to better allure to trouts. The Romans’ rode was two meters long and their line the same length. Around the 15th century, people started to fish for pleasure or sport in different parts of the world. The first text in Europe to mention angling was “The Treatyse on Fysshynge with an Angle” written by a British lady, Dame Juliana Berners. At that time, rods used for angling were 4 meters long, and English sounded like a lot of “ye”:

“Of ye woll be crafty in anglynge : ye must fyrste lerne to make your harnays / That is to wyte your rodde : your lynes of dyuers colours. After that ye must know how ye shall angle in what place of the water : how depe : and what time of day.”

Starting in the 16th century, Ayu fishing was developed in Japan as a method of training and meditation of samurai. They learned to be at one with nature while using long rods that could have 5 to 7 meters in length, making their own hooks from needles, and dressing them as flies. Fishy fun fact: ayu is also the name of a very popular fish that’s associated with summer time and the equivalent of Japan’s hot dog. Back on the old European continent, new books about angling techniques were published and presented it as a sport of gentlemen in the 17th century. And as the centuries went by, fishing inventions flourished, modern materials and reeling improved the fishing techniques, and fly fishing became cheaper and more popular. The railways in the 19th century allowed middle, lower and upper classes to visit rich places with a lot more fish. The 20th century brought us the fiberglass rod, and today, I fly fish, you fly fish, and yes, we can all fly fish.

For the days where we’re not taking on the river’s monsters like staying home during Corona, here are a few titles described as the best fly fishing books known to man. There are the classics, manuals among many, and the legends that every serious fly fisher should have on their bookshelf according to Fly Fisher Pro. We’ve shorten it to our top three must reads:

  1. River Runs Through It by Normal Maclean. An American classic among mackerel men who love the echoing call of nature and the thrill of the chase, the first line’s fame surpasses The Great Gastby’s last: “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.”
  2. Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life by Jeremy Paxman. For all the tall tales, the ones that got away, and the ones that didn’t get away in over 300 articles from more than 250 books written in the last 2000 years.
  3. Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die: Fly-fishing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella. A great gift if you’re the girlfriend of a mackerel man; he might just enjoy you as much as his last trout.

Talking about fly fishing dream spots, here are a few on different sides of the globe to look at if you’re the type of mackerel man who will voyage for fish. Number one, Northern Saskatchewan in Canada. An abundance of lakes and rivers ensure that you will see no one, be completely totally alone with you, yourself and plenty of rainbow trouts. Number two, Patagonia for some world-class trout fishing. All catch and release variety; gotta keep it green for the kids. Number three, Alphonse Islands in the Seychelles for bonefish or milkfish. They are huge and famous for putting a fight. Recommended for expert bull and fly fishing fighters, especially the ones who can take a sun burn in an incredibly relaxed atmosphere. Bonus: to reel in the largest piece of trout on the planet gotta go to the Eg-Urr river basin in Mongolia. (Legend says it can way more than sixty pounds and stretch to nearly four feet...)

Next time my instagram feed starts swimming in posts of trouts, salmons, tunas, and big – yes, yes, that’s it – big fish, I’ll bite your bait and comment:

xx – the mackerel men lover.

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