The Importance Of Using The Right Tools

Before I start this post in earnest I want to say that Kyle (NC River Angler) did everything he could to put me on the fish yesterday. Also he warned me about my kayak, which is a wonderful kayak when used for its intended purpose of fishing flats and still waters, last time I went fishing with him and said that I could use one of his if I wanted next time I came up to fish. I didn’t listen…

Last time I took my kayak (just to reiterate, a boat I absolutely adore and is perfect (for its intended use)) to the Dan River to fish with Kyle for smallmouth I had some trouble with it as far as maneuvering  and getting it to do what I wanted it to do in general but it was the first time I ever had it in a river that had riffles and small rapids and I assumed that it was mainly operator error. It wasn’t.

Simply put, it’s not a river ‘yak.

So I’m constantly working to get my kayak to do what I need it to do so I can fish. This in turn affects my ability to cast, present the fly properly and set the hook. This is only in the relatively calm water.

In riffles and rapids there’s a lot of getting hung up on rocks and dragging bottom which leads me to spend more time than I want out of my boat pulling it behind me. This causes frustration and fatigue.

By now y’all should all know where this is going.

Frustration and fatigue causes more sloppy casting and missed fish, which causes more frustration, which causes the thinking to get a bit more muddled, which causes a lack of concentration, which causes flies to land in trees and over logs and get stuck in the back of your shirt and you end up losing three flies in three consecutive cast on top of catching no smallmouth bass and then sticking a hook barb deep (luckily it was actually debarbed) into your finger and announcing at that point “Fuck this shit, I’m ready to go home!” and trying to float peacefully down to the takeout where you get hung on the bottom again and have to drag that fucking boat that you’re going to put up for sale as soon as you get back home the rest of the way to the takeout where you stumble upon two methed-out looking hillbillies pre-coitus…

All this because of choosing the wrong tool for the job.

The Ball Cutter

I just finished watching the most terrifying and yet intriguing episode of “River Monsters.”  If you’re not familiar with the show, basically this British guy goes around trying to catch large freshwater fish while simultaneously trying to convince the audience that these fish are as dangerous as a ‘roided out mako shark.  Most episodes end with the host coming to the conclusion that the fish of the week has gotten a bad rap from freak chance encounters that ended badly.

The episode I watched today was different.  This one was truly frightening.  The host went to Papua New Guinea to investigate a fish, locally known as The Ball Cutter, rumored to mutilate men’s genitalia.  THE BALL CUTTER?!?!?!  It’s a better name than say the cock mangler, but not much.

After some investigation, it’s found out that the fish in question is an introduced, usually vegetarian, cousin of the piranha called the Pacu.  Pacu have extremely strong jaws that they use to smash fruit and break open the nuts that they usually feed on. These are their teeth.

For some reason, after being introduced into this particular river system these fish, which, I will reiterate, usually eat plant matter, have become predators that have been reported to attack anything and everything that swims in their new waters, including exposed native junk.

Now what intrigues me is this what a pacu looks like.

That’s right, it’s basically a thirty pound bream (or bluegill for those of y’all not from the southeastern US).  If you’ve ever caught a bluegill on a light fly rod or any other fish that happens to be shaped like a dinner plate you know how hard they fight.

Now, fly fishing for the pacu is not unheard of, but imagine fishing for a highly predatory population of these hard fighting fish in one of the most remote areas in the world…

Still though, I would hate to see the flies people would come up with to catch something known as The Ball Cutter.