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The Flat Faced Piney Pickerel

I have to tell ya right from the beginning, because this is such an unbelievable story, that it's as true as true can be. Don't ask me to swear on my kids' life. One poor guy did, and while telling the story he had made a misquote, all he had said was "there wasn't a cloud in the sky". When in fact there was a cloud caused by a vapor trail from a jet. Well this one little technicality caused his child to be eaten by a great white shark. Which it turns out was just a half-ounce heavier than the record setter he was lying, er, talking about. Talk about insult to injury.

Don't ever believe a fish story if the man says he'll swear on the life of his wife. Many a woman has been killed this way.

Here it is. The story of the flat face piney pickerel.

It was the start of the spring thaw and time to head for the pine bogs and catch some pickerel. I knew it was time because the Scandinavian's in the neighborhood were hanging their winter underwear out to dry. They sew their underwear on and keep it on all winter long. I know what you're thinking, don't worry, except for one family, the rest of the group had flaps built into their personal attire.

My buddy and I were out there casting our lures; by the way you could cast your car keys or wife's earrings and catch pickerel in the pines. Depending upon what size fish you want, you need to use a corresponding size lure. I knew a guy who once casted a Buick into the bog. The poor sucker didn't realize until later, that it had just been drained and refilled a couple of days earlier (anybody from Jersey knows it takes at least two weeks for a pickerel to get full sized). Anyway, when he reeled it back in, he only got two Volkswagen sized fish (one for each bumper). 

So we're casting stuff we found alongside the road - flat beer cans, old sneakers, democrats, etc, etc, etc... The strangest thing started to happen, instead of the fish going up and down when it hit, it when side-to-side, and this only happens on July the fifth. That's when the fireworks noise screws up their sense of balance (I guess it's an inner ear thing). I reeled it in and when I brought it up I couldn't believe my eyes. The fish's normally duckbilled face was flat. It looked like it just heard a good joke. You know not one that makes you belly laugh but makes you grin from ear to ear. Well, we kept some just for scientific purposes and for the fact we might get rich by introducing a new subspecies. We packed up and went to "Mayo's Halfway House" (it was called that long before rehab joints used the name, I think it came from being halfway a bar and halfway a house).

I wanted to stay tight-lipped, but everyone just kept talking about fish. A couple of guys were having a good laugh and we wanted to know what was up. It turns that they went fishing a little to early in year. The bog was still frozen over, but they figured since they were already there, they might as well get some practice casting in. This one guy cast's his lure out onto the ice and hears a "thunk" and sees and couple of cracks in the ice. After doing this several times, they realized that the crazy and mean pickerel were trying to get at the lures. They thought this was so much fun that they kept going back and doing this until the spring thaw.

You can call me a pickled piney, but it didn't take long to put two and two together and realize why those pickerel had flat faces. Those geniuses killed off all the fish. Aliens must have landed in the pines (which they are prone to do, remember war of the worlds?). When they realized there was no food source, they must have cloned some of the dead fish together. Man they did a poor job. I wonder if they also cloned some of these pineys.

Byron Parker loves to fish the Jersey Pines.  Thank you for telling your Tall Tale.

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