Story last updated at 4:14 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2002

Getting to Fishing Hole more challenging than the fishing
Nick C. Varney
I've heard rather graphic complaints lately that I haven't been doing enough fishing reports this year. It seems that there are some of you who still need instructions on how not to flail the water in search of the finny critters. As one person put it, "Your continued ineptness inspires us all. A deeply disturbed kangaroo with a dipnet attached to its butt would have better luck. Just standing next to you makes the most incompetent sportsman look like an expert."

Another concerned party sent this e-mail: "Hi Nick. I just wanted to let you know that we really enjoy your columns, but the really funny stuff is watching you actually try and catch fish out at 'The Hole.' I would suggest trying your bathtub. You'd be out of sight and probably have more success."

Well gee, thanks P.H. and J.K, for those heartwarming endorsements of my angling skills. Hopefully, I will discover your vehicles unlocked one of these days and have my dog Howard leave you a special appreciation gift. The last time that happened, the military ended up using the automobiles for Hazmat training.

Anyway, after a few more solid shots like that to my ego, I decided that I'd better get out to the lagoon and nail some silvers. I figured that if I threw enough lures at the water I was bound to at least knock one of them out. Hey, the signs say snagging isn't open, but I haven't seen any flyers prohibiting mugging them.

I never made it to the shoreline. Just trying to get out there, I had three "up close and personals" with drivers who had either been smoking their seat covers or had the IQs of underdeveloped bait herring. The first guy was approximately 300 years old and was attempting a left turn onto the bypass from Lake Street. This is usually an innocuous maneuver, unless you make the decision not to honor the stop sign or simply check to see if anyone is closing fast enough to end up parked in your glove compartment. Fortuitously, the seriously seasoned airhead's wife noticed my mini truck and let out a shriek that cracked their windshield and blew the hair off the miniature rat-dog sitting in her lap. I don't know what ever happened to that old boy, but when I looked in the rearview mirror, all I saw was her jaws snapping like a Great White in a feeding frenzy and smoke coming from the right side of his body.

The second encounter came a few minutes later. I was approaching Kachemak Drive when another idiot suddenly shot out from the side access street. Trust me, I would have calmly welcomed the opportunity to suggest to him that a razor clam would score higher on a learner's permit exam and that he was a peripheral vision-challenged cretin, if I hadn't already been prolifically engaged in primal screaming.

When he finally looked up from his map, cell phone and McMuffin, he caught a glimpse of my little truck standing on its front shocks and a fist signaling something a little ruder than a left turn. Brilliantly, he swerved into the opposite lane. That was a cool move because it ended my worries about taking a face plant up his tailpipe prior to ending up as major debris in the ashtray. Unfortunately, it deeply irritated the oncoming drivers, who didn't appreciate seeing his grill instead of taillights, so he roared back to my side. Luckily, by then, I had slowed down so much that the only gear option I had left was reverse.

It still wasn't over. As most of you know, the city wisely designated the road area adjacent to the fishing lagoon as a 25 mph zone, although certain loons still consider it their private drag strip. Case in point: One of them tried melting the paint off the left side of my rig when he passed me doing approximately Mach II just as I was starting to turn into the parking lot. The little driver dude looked to have been all of 11 years old and had a hairdo that made him resemble a demented gerbil on crack. I figured that he was either late for work as a bathroom doorstop or had just stolen the white SUV from his day care center. It really didn't matter. I took the hint, came home, and sequestered myself in the basement until Labor Day. If you still want fishing reports, I'll make something up. I'm good at that.

Nick Varney falls into this space about once every three weeks. The rest of the time he can be found practicing his defensive driving skills.