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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4 (August 1, 1933)

Fishing And Suchlike Lies

page 13

Fishing And Suchlike Lies

Blood and Mud Sports.

Sport is work out of working hours, or unpaid overtime. Roughly speaking, sport is divisible into three classes—organised sport, agonised sport, and naturalised sport. The first two are one, as in football and kindred bawls. Football often is classed as a “blood sport,” but is also a mud and blood sport. All organised sport is agonised sport, as you know if you have ever stood up to body-line bawling, front-line scrumming, shin-line shindying or hockey hock-knocks, soccer-socking, and racquet-racking or hard-courtship in the modern love-game. Such sports are necessary heavals for heaving the rancour and discharging the cargo of repression kept under closed hatches during the week. Generally speaking, investigation will disclose that the adult bash-artist, the smash-and-grab practitioner, and the arson addict have never in their youth stood up to any ball harder than a brandy ball, and thus have never learnt that it is far better to get it off your chest with boot and ball than with gelignite and jemmy. In fact, Freud-ulently speaking, it is not too late to organise football matches between safe-blowing fifteens and smash-and-grab teams, or even bag-snatchers versus sand-baggers, cat-burglars versus “ratters,” and perhaps a seven-a-side game between confidence-men and coiners. For sport is only an organised method of leading superfluous energy into proper channels and deflecting it from improper ones. Consequently the criminal classes would leave their old school with top marks if encouraged to leave foot-prints instead of finger-prints on the fields of their endeavour. Instead of mere time-servers they might develop into “tricky halves,” or devote their energies to scrum “locking” rather than safe unlocking, or cracking a rib in preference to cracking a crib. Therefore organised games are all to the good, and “time” never hangs heavily on the hands of those who utilise it with their feet, or any other part of their fighting equipment. It has been said that Britain's battles are won on the playing fields of Eton, but why go so far as Eton? You can easily be bitten without being Eton.

Fish, Flesh and Fowl.

Having disposed of agonised sports and put the criminal classes out of court, let us turn to naturalised sport, which is so assiduously advertised to attract the tourist. With the hearty disapproval of the Tourist Department, the whole-hearted disavowal of the Publicity Department, the deep disgust of the Railway Department and the deeper distrust of my readers (if any), I propose to postulate preposterously upon the sporting chances offered by our Grand National cross-country hunts. As we all know, by studying the windows of fishmongers, New Zealand teems with fish, flesh and fowl accessible to the hand of the hunter; i.e., the fish in the water, the flesh on the land, and the fowl in the air. The hunter who knows his book of birds and beasts, therefore, will not make the mistake of stalking the wapiti with whoopee, the “rainbow” with a spade, or the wild duck with a syphon or other aerated weapon. page 14 Let us get our hooks into fishing first. Much has been told about fishing, but only half will bear repeating. I knew a fisherman who averred that he had been chased by a fish, which proves that fishermen are what we all know they are.

“A baby car honking for its bottle.”

“A baby car honking for its bottle.”

Fly-fishing or Dumb-wading.

Fishing, angling, dangling, or dumb-wading, was first discovered by Sir Isaak Newton who, after noting how quickly an apple can fall off a tree, invented the law of gravity, and thus got an angle on angling. The law of levity may do for such sports as pitching the pie or throwing the party; but in fishing, the only natural law is the law of gravity. If it were not a grave and serious matter, who would stand all day immersed to his watch pocket in glacier-gravy, like a traffic cop in Venice? Fly-fishing, in fact, demands an iron constitution (rustless), nerves of steel (stainless), a heart of oak (warpless), and a heap of hope (dauntless). Some fishermen actually catch fish, and others only say they do, thus illustrating the difference between veracity and loquacity, a nibble and a quibble, and hooks and lies. Trout fishing is a matter of aquatic acquiescence or waiting and wading, for trout will not swallow hook, line and sinker like you and I, but will only take a fly at such things as pink-eyed spinnakers, minnows, winnows or swizzled swats.

Out for a Duck.

Now let us turn from duckings to ducks. Although the wild duck also is a damp sort of bird, and only comes out to be shot when it is raining, the idea is to “get the duck wet,” even if you get wetter. Ducks always prefer to be shot in braces, not so much to keep up their pants as to keep up their spirits. In this respect they are very human, for most men get “shot” in pairs when there are “bracers” about. Only a snipe will get “shot” from the hip. The duck shooter always waits until the meteorologist gets the megrims or a cyclonic complex, and when he hears that everything wet is predicted from cloud-bursts, water spouts and blizzards, to avalanches and tide-rips, he knows that it is good weather for ducks. In the middle of the night he boards a punt, which leaks in every pore, and hides in the bullrushes like Moses did—but Moses knew enough to keep dry. The duck-hunter likes to be early so that he can pot the early duck when it floats off its eggs for its matutinal water-wave. It rains all night, and the hunter divides his time between trying to get his share of the whisky and scratching frog bites and eel stings. Morning dribbles rather than breaks, and the ducks are heard ducking their ducklings before they rise into the atmospheric damp to be shot. Everything is as tense as an elastic band about to play the Gutta-percha national anthem. The ducks rise, honking like a baby car that has sighted its bottle. Spirits are raised, eyes are raised, guns are raised, and—the punt sinks with a sigh like a punctured sea-cow. The great day is over and the duckists are under. Such is sport!

“Joshua Slump has got the bump.”

“Joshua Slump has got the bump.”

page 15

A Moose on the Loose.

Stalking the wapiti is no “whoopee.” Well might you ask: “What is wapiti and why?” To be inexact, a wapiti is a sort of a moose on the loose or a deer out of gear—otherwise it would never have a name like that. It is probably called a wapiti because of its woppity walk, and it runs like a stanza of modern verse. But although it looks soft, to boot, it is hard to shoot; which perhaps explains the following old hunting song. Nothing else can.

Wapiti wippety wok,
The moose ran up the rock,
The clock struck one
But the son-of-a-gun
Continued to “wapiti wok.”
Wapiti wippety woop,
The hunter's in the soup,
For he fell down
And broke his crown,
And the wapiti flew the coop.
Wapiti wapiti whip,
Wapitis never slip,
But hunters do
And lose their stew
Of wapiti whoopity whip.

The fun of shooting wapiti is that you don't. You stalk the wapiti on your breakfast for six or seven hours and the wapiti keeps ahead of the game. Then you become desperate and decide to shoot without seeing the whites of his eyes. Just as you raise your wapiti-waiver he remembers that he has got a date with a roe or a doe or a do-do, or something in the next parish, and wops off. As a “blood sport” brewing the Bovril has it all over wopping the wapiti.

Big Things Ahead!!

Big Things Ahead!!

The King of the Dearth.

But the great out-of-doors is an effective antidote for slumptiousness, because old Joshua Slump hates the open spaces as an oyster hates vinegar. There is no doubt that, like Monday morning and toothache, he exists; so does measles, but we don't paint spots on our chest just to keep us reminded of the fact. Lest Joshua Slump become King of the Dearth and Monarch of all he Dismays let us put a hoodoo on his “how do” with a little community sing.

Clump, clump, clump,
Here comes Slump,
Old Man Joshua,
Don't let him boss yer,
Pull up your socks and give him the bump—
That's how to deal with Old Man Slump.
Clump, clump, clump,
Joshua Slump,
Glum and gloomy,
Wry and rheumy,
Give him the gate or he'll give you the “hump,”
Drivelling, snivelling Joshua Slump.
Bump, bump, bump,
That's old Slump
Taking the stairs
End up, in pairs,
For we've all had enough of Joshua Slump,
And we've given him the bump, bump, bumpetty bump.

The more recognition Slump gets the more wreck-ignition he wreaks, so let's dump Slump and look to the big things ahead.

page 16