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The whale that swallowed ol’ Jonah weighed 847 and a half pounds. Pay attention at the next club meeting. Zero in on the guys that like to fish. Just listen to the wonderful tales of fish tricking and how they convinced that finicky eight and a half pounder to take the lure. Never mind that a reliable scale was never a part of this calculation. The eight pounds therefore is iffy…the half pound added on is the cherry atop this hot fudging sundae. Bassers do it. So do perch jerkers and sophisticated fly casters. Before they even launch the boat or pull up the waders, they’ve got a tackle bag full of “ana half’s” ready to use as needed. “Biggest bluegill I’ve ever come across! It weighed a pound ana half.” Guys that feel somewhat guilty about fish stretching might say…“I BET it weighed a pound ana half”.
I’ve witnessed walleye fishermen up north lay an extra half on 'em, and Florida guys that catch a sure enough lunker of a bass with no need to enhance, still, will throw in “ana half”. Maybe they think that this will somehow improve that double-digit beast just a bit. I have overheard fellow fishermen midstream in western waters utter "ana halfs". Crappie anglers are really good at it too. Not only do the crappie folks add an extra half pound, but they are quick to throw in another half inch as well. Just ask any game warden. I’ve noticed that the catfish people are indeed a rare breed. They are completely satisfied with a nice round number. You’ll never hear the trotliner say “…yep! She weighed 38 and a half pounds.” They just stick with 38. Before we crown and robe the whisker chasers, there is still a problem. It starts with that maybe 30 pounder growing to 38. I don’t know that we can call this half pounding “lying”. I think it is possibly a sub-conscience effort to grow ourselves six inches taller than the next guy by simply adding a half pound to our catch.
I enjoy fishing with a preacher friend from time to time. His name is Tom. I enjoy it because he doesn’t talk much, is dependably on time and doesn’t drink up my diet Dr Peppers. He is one of the most honest men that I’ve ever been around. Ask him a question, and he will actually listen, pause, and double check his words for truthfulness, but dangit! He did it! We were throwing 6-inch watermelon and chartreuse worms up to a rocky point and slowly dragging them back to the boat. Tom felt the tap, set the hook, played and landed the bass wonderfully! He did everything right, right up to the moment that he shouted, “WOW! THREE ANA HALF POUNDS!” I slumped over in disappointment and might have even whispered a prayer on the preacher’s behalf at that moment.
At this moment, smug antler chasers are giving a hateful squint to the anglers. Thinking to themselves.. “I’ve always known that they are *%$@ liars.” This is braggin' board jealousy made manifest. The deer hunter knows it’s not fair. His quarry suffers “ground shrinkage” while the trout man’s catch gets bigger. He made the perfect glorious cast, won the trout tussle and netted the big brown just like Lefty would’ve. Then, in a move that would bring a tear to the eye of the most grizzled conservationist...our hero released the fish! In a moments time and thru manipulative imagination, the fish that this thumb on the scales angler held for one minute, swam away not only healthy but a half pound larger than he was this morning.
When a young man visits your home in hopes of winning the hand of your beloved daughter, invite him to have a seat and tell you a fishing story. If he begins with, “well, I caught a 7 pounder once.” Stop him right there and call the preacher. You have found your guy. This is an honest young superhero that will no doubt make the perfect father to your grandchildren. When they are born, he will proudly exclaim “8 pounds even! 7 pounds on the money! Whew…9 pounds on the spot!” He is rare-the rest of us??? We stand at the club meeting with outstretched arms, palms facing each other as we re-live the tale about the 9 "ana half" pounder. We will celebrate the "ana halfs" of our friends, readily hand them out to guys on the next client trip, refuse them to our fishing partner in a moment of green jealousy and use them as skillfully as Tom Brady would a football. "Ana halfs" exist for a reason.
In my occupation, I have many opportunities to spend time with professional anglers-Top notch pros, some even of hall of fame notoriety. I pay attention at the dinners, angler meetings, events and fishing trips. The pros are as proud of "ana halfs" as we weekenders. Think about this, a pro bass angler catches 5 fish for his legal weigh in. His old friend "ana half" has added a cumulative 2 "ana half" pounds to his limit. Hmmm. No one ever catches a 5 pounder. Never. Including me. They are always "ana half". It comes out of our mouths before good sense, humility and honesty ever have a fighting chance to salvage our reputation. Hey, it actually feels great to "ana half"! It COULD actually be true, which is a salve for our troubled conscience. The fish and the proof swim away. The "ana half" stands-never to be challenged. It starts young. The 7-year-old will tell you that he’s 7 "ana half". The teenager will answer…5 feet 10 "ana half". There is no limit to "ana halfs". Endless supply. That’s why you hear grandpa still using them even as grandma raises an eyebrow. Folks will doubt and snicker, maybe even call you out on it from time to time. Stand your ground. That "ana half" is yours; enjoy it. Tell the taxidermist as he forms that perfect walleye replica that she was full of eggs, so... (fill in the blank) "ana half"!
By Billy Kinder
DSC Life Member
Owner - Kinder Productions, Inc.
Host - Kinder Outdoors-SiriusXM
Radio Stations & Podcasts Across the U.S.
February 18, 2022