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The Adventures of Fatty Lewis by Arthur Killick


By Arthur Killick

Copyright, 1915, by A. F. Killick and W. P. Harvey


     "The guy that wrote the story about a fish swallowing Johah was sure smart to put it in the Bible," Fatty Lewis declared.  "And at that I'm getting a bit skeptical.  Sometimes I think he might have been mistaken about it being a fish.  It might have been a sea-horse or something."

     "S'pose you think they're ain't no big fish?" Hurrah demanded, virtuously.  "Guess you muffed Rex Beach's book, 'The Silver Horde.'  There wasn't only big fish in that story, but plenty of 'em."

     "Nope," Lewis replied.  "I read the book and saw the pictures in it.  I've also seen pictures --  passed by the National Board of Censorship -- of salmon fishing on the Columbia River.  But the 'movies' might be bunc.  They could be studio stuff with papier mache fish.

     "I'm just arguing that I never caught a big fish.  Never was with anyone who did.  And so far's I know everybody who ever landed a big one was away off by himself.  No eye-witnesses.  You've just got to take his word for it."

     "I know a guy---"

     "So do I," Lewis interrupted.  "Not just one -- hundreds of 'em.  They've all got the only fishing spot in the country.

     "They are the 'You-come-with-me-next-year-and-I'll-show-you-some-real-fishing boys.'  They've enticed me from New York to California and from Missouri to Michigan for the last fourteen years.  I've about made up my mind to see if I can't get the game laws amended so's to have an open season on them birds.

     "I've figured it out in my own feeble mind that there must be big fish.  Surely of the millions of minnows I've seen -- some I've bought, and some I've seen swimming in creeks, lakes and ponds -- part of 'em must have reached maturity.  It's a cinch the pelicans and ducks didn't get all of 'em.  Still I've never battled with a muskie, fought with a 6-pound  bass or been dragged downstream by an enormous trout.  I sure like to hear the boys tell those stories, but I'll admit I'm getting a bit wobbly in the faith.  It's never happened to me.

     "There never was a year that I wasn't trying.  I've waded in cold water up to my armpits in Colorado, flirting with death in the form of pneumonia and exposure.  I've hired native guides that could blindfold themselves and tell the difference between a silver doctor and a royal coachman.  Yet all the trout I ever caught we had to hurry up and cook before the game wardens came along.  They were all small, and the legal requirements were only six inches from tip to tail, at that.

     "I've cut brush to get a hole through in inland lakes.  I've sat on the breakwater in Chicago from daylight until it got so dark you couldn't see Lake Michigan.  I've shot the rapids in the Ozarks.  Still, every fish I ever caught was just a little too large to be a sardine and a little too small to make a good smelt.

    "This year it looked like I was bound to break into the hit column.  I went to Michigan for bass and pickerel.   We didn't get 'em, but there was a guy started with better prospects.  I even rented a camera.  Going to high-tone my friends with pictures when I got back.

      " 'I sure hope we get some fish,' I remarked to my friend as we got on the train.

     " 'Believe me, we'll get fish,' he replied.  'Why, the kind of fish you catch around this burg they use for bait in Michigan.'

     " 'I hope you're right,' I said, 'but I'm an awful load of coal.  Nobody ever did catch fish when I was along.'

     " 'Well, you never went to Michigan, did you?' he inquired.

     " 'I never did,' I admitted.

     " 'That explains it,' he declared.  'You can believe me or not, but there's 4-year-old fish in Michigan that can't swim a stroke.  The lakes are so full of big fish that the little ones don't get a chance to practice.' Pretty hard to beat that, I guess," Lewis said.

     "Sure sounded like the real dope," Hurrah admitted.

     "Well, I guess yes," Lewis assented.  "We finally gets to our destination.  I was willing an' anxious to give some ignorant fish a chance to study anatomy.  I had a notion to just throw in a bare hook and see if I couldn't snag one of the fish in the side.  But that looked too easy.

     "I attached a pork rind to a red ibis -- guaranteed by the salesman to be the 'one best bet' for pickerel.  I made a cast.  Got myself all set for the expected strike.  Nothing doing.  Another cast.  One more blank.  Oodles of casts.  Still no fish.

Fatty Lewis Goes Fishing
"Doggone me if I can understand it," my friend declared.
They must be spawning."

     " 'Try a frog,' suggested my friend.  'I've always had a lot of luck with frogs.' I selected a perfectly good frog.  So good that I had a hunch to save him till I got back to camp and fry him.  Still I was after pickerel, not frogs.  I slung frogs through the air and dragged them back through pond lilies till they almost looked like lace curtains.  No pickerel.  The mosquitoes finally gave us a tip that it was time to beat it.

     " 'Doggone me if I can understand it,' my friend declared, as we climbed out of the boat.  'They must be spawning.'

     " 'Must be,' I admitted.  'I never went fishing when they wasn't.  Wonder what becomes of all the spawn?' "

     " 'Carp eats it,' he said."

     " 'What becomes of the carp?' I asked.  'S'pose they eat so much spawn that they get indigestion and die.' He never said a word.

     "The next day we changed the bill-of-fare to artificial minows.  Nice rainbow colored affairs with hooks on their sides like guns on a battle ship.

     "It looked like a fish couldn't resist biting on 'em.  The total catch that day consisted of pond lilies and moss.

     "We'd got 'em today if it hadn't been for the east wind,' my partner declared.  'It's sure an awful jinx.  Just wait 'til tomorrow.  I'll sure grab them babies with this.'

     " 'This' was three grappling hooks large enough to get buckets out of a well, all tied together with red and green feathers and attached to a green line.

     " 'Pickerel lure,' he confessed.  He didn't get any pickerel, but it wasn't a total loss.  We used the line to tie up the trunks with when we came  home.

     " 'I'm off this deep sea fishing,' I declared.  'Tomorrow it's me for crappie and perch with worms and minnows.'  That night we had our first fish supper.  In the meantime my friend had learned the reason we didn't catch pickerel or bass.  The lake was 'in bloom.' "

     " 'What's in bloom?" Hurrah inquired.

     "Oh, it's one of the stock alibis -- same as spawning; east wind; too muddy and too clear."

      "Well, you've never had much luck, have you?" Smith asked.

     "Oh, yes.  I've had luck enough," Lewis replied, "but it's been mostly bad."

The Adventures of Fatty Lewis ~ A Serial ~ by Arthur F. Killick



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