About 10 years ago I was the president of a local fly fishing club. About 75 - 100 members would attend our monthly meetings. The meeting was conducted by the president and the agenda included a welcome to new members, a discussion of upcoming events, and the like. A popular part of the meeting was the fishing reports where a member would relate his fishing prowess to the club. These reports would usually result in catcalls from other members, comments questioning the veracity of the report, questions relating to parentage of those in the fray, and … well, you get the idea.
It was during one of those meetings that Al stood up.
Al had been a member of the club for a couple years. About the only time I ever saw him was at the meetings. He was an older guy, kind of a loner, but was always friendly and always had a smile on his face. He didn't talk much either, so I was a little surprised when he stood up.
"Have you got a fishing report for us, Al?", I asked.
"Yep, I sure do." he responded, in a deadpan delivery.
"I went up to Stampede last week and was dark side (spinning gear) fishing for trout up by the dam. I had been fishing salmon eggs for a couple hours and didn't get so much as a bite. About that time three guys came down the rocks and started fishing about 50 feet from me. They started catching fish as soon as they got there and it seemed that one of them had a fish on every few minutes. They left after an hour or so with what looked like three limits of trout."
There was silence at the meeting as Al continued his report.
"As soon as those guys left, I made it over to where they had been fishing. I threw my salmon egg into the lake … nothing. I was really discouraged and was feeling sorry for myself. It was then that I noticed a bunch of small silver wrappers that had fallen between the rocks. I picked one up and immediately found out what they had been using for bait. Those were 'Preparation H' wrappers."
As Al sat down he finished his story with, "I didn't know you could catch fish on Preparation H".
There was a lot of heckling, of course, but there were a lot of raised eyebrows as well. Guys thinking.
Al died unexpectedly a few months later and he never did back off the truthfulness of his story. I've always wondered how many of the guys there that night still carry a box of Preparation H in their fishing vest. It wouldn't surprise me at all.
It's what we do.