With the annual Rainy River Walleye Tournament coming up later this month, the crew at the Bakery in Drizzle Creek were bemoaning the paucity of fresh shiners—their favourite bait.
Even Pickle couldn’t scrounge up a supply from his older brother, Dill, nor his younger sibling, Gherkin. I dug through my archives and came up with this tidbit penned in 2003 for just such an emergency:
Bait! What’ll it be? Worms? Too much work. Minnows? No money. Blew it all on beer. Time to get creative. Take a look in the kitchen and see what else might do.
Voila! Answer to both you and your wife’s prayers. A shrimp ring.
Now this is the answer to your wife’s prayers because although said ring was intended for the church women’s meeting that afternoon, she realizes unless you have an adequate supply of bait, there’s always a chance you may come home early . . . before the meeting’s over and all the other members have safely departed.
She still remembers the last time this occurred when you and your buddies, fresh out of bait, but not beer, arrived in the middle of the luncheon and took over the kitchen to clean up the rest of the beer—and that stringer of ripe fish.
If nothing else, it sure provided a good serving of gossip—as well as a few new cuss words—for the church group for the next couple of months.
So you can be assured your wife is more than prepared to negotiate your guaranteed absence for the duration.
Bargaining from a position of strength in this marriage is a completely new experience for you, but don’t let it go to your head. If you play your cards right, not only will you not ever have to waste money on minnows again, you’ll be the envy of all your fishing buddies, as well.
The shrimp ring is key. You should be able to negotiate for at least half of it—maybe even all of it, if the minister’s wife and mother are attending this day. Whatever.
On special at $3.99 for 80 pieces, cooked shrimp are way cheaper than minnows at $4.50 a dozen. And they are not as slippery and taste way better.
That’s right, “taste better.”
Here’s the methodology. Place your supply of bait—shrimp—in one of those Ziploc plastic baggies in one pocket. In another pocket, another baggy of cocktail sauce—the spicy kind if you have an abundant supply of beer and Tums.
Then you can bait your hook or snack at your leisure.
If the catching’s slow ( the fishing itself is always good), you will be the envy of your group. While they cuss, swat flies, and try to keep their minnows alive, you enjoy a succulent shrimp cocktail.
On the other hand, if the catching is great, as soon as the shrimp bait on your hook starts getting a little tattered, simply dip it—jig and all—into the cocktail sauce and daintily nibble it straight off the hook. Umm, umm good!
And grossing out your buddies is a top-notch fringe benefit.
A word of caution at this point, make sure you use only barbless hooks. Catch-and-release takes on a whole new meaning when it’s your tongue or lip that gets caught trying for that last morsel on said hook.
You hook yourself, it’s a sure bet, after recovering from a fit of hysterical laughter, your buddies will embellish and spread the news of your misfortune faster and further than the auxiliary’s review of the preacher’s current affair with the choir leader.
Aside from the embarrassment, such a tale, upon reaching the wife’s ears, could seriously impair all future supplies of bait from the shopping cart.
So the choice is yours—fish or eat bait.
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