If there is one category of photos that really gives me the creeps, it’s that which shows a smiling fisherman, holding in his wet hands the fish that he has just caught. (I know that I’m going to make a lot of enemies with this preamble, but I don’t give a damn!) I don’t know why, but these conventional images, seen a thousand times, again and again, always makes me think of the big bully in the schoolyard showing his dick with a ballon above his head (like in the comics) which reads: “Hey guys, have you seen the size of my pecker?”

That’s why I took my Bic out today, to tell you the inverse story; a true, resounding and magnificent story… of a fishing debacle.

“It was,” as my Cheyenne friends love to say: “many moons ago”… Cyril and I rendezvoused in Perpignan, the town famous because of it’s train station that the glorious buffoon, Dali, lionized. Lickety-split, we headed for Jaume’s house for the simple reason that, Jaume knows every trout in the Pyrenees by their nickname and the pebbles in all the rivers like the pages of the books in his Catalan bookstore. Besides, he can write you 350 pages about the prehistoric hooks from South Zambeze where the fishing lines in the 13th century were made from the intestines of raccoons. His bookstore resembles a secret den where all sorts of real and false terrorists or improbable band of anarchists might gather on moonless nights. In brief, a shrine of magic where under every book one expects to find a swiss detonator (of the very best quality, it seems!)

After much indispensable discussion, required by tradition, our catalan friend indicated on our map (encoded, certainly) a stream where the trout are enormous, numerous, adventurous and ready to play with neophytes like us. AH! But, you have to earn the right to fish them because these marvels are found in Spain, 500 kilometers from Perpignan.

Cyril, he couldn’t care less about driving long distances. In fact, he delights in it. So there we are on our way, my lovely wife, yours truly and Cyril at the wheel, driving the car like a f4 fighter jet: like a bat outta hell!

The trip was marvelous. We told the most hilarious stories, the most stupid worn-out jokes; along the route national we were beguiled to see spectacular prostitutes stretched out on deck-chairs reading Federico Garcia Lorca poems, Machado or perhaps even Spinoza. In short, 500 km of such happiness that, even today, I ask myself if the pleasure of fishing isn’t simply, just that: to be in perfect harmony with a friend, one with whom total idiocy is allowed… bullshitting endlessly, graciously… as only children are permitted to do.

Finally, arriving in the region indicated by our friend, we realized that the directions, although they were in french, were really vague or perhaps at the right time, we took a wrong turn; anyway we turned around in a 1000 circles before finding the stream that looked more like a sewer outlet.

“Is this it? Seems like it!”

“In that case, the evening hatch, where is it?”

After an hour of waiting… the first rise, a second rise, then the water started to boil with fish and of course we were excited like pack of hounds on the scent of a fox.

We went through all of the flies in Cyril’s boxes (and my friend brought enough boxes of lures to stock a fishing store; each fly the most beautiful and exotic that exists!).

Not a single one of those damned fish paid any attention and god knows we really applied ourselves. Back casting, roll casting, zigzag, accordion, flea jumps… and I don’t know what else: nothing, nada, zip!

It was already dark when we started on the road back.

But Cyril knows all the best restaurants in the region (he probably knows the best restaurants in the world!), just a little 100 kilometer detour. The meal was indeed memorable, filled with more laughs, hair-raising stories and jokes. Marvelous.

Voila, all this to say that debacles like this, well… I wish you all debacles as beautiful as this in the new year.

And, take pity on me… save me from those pornographic photos of giant fish panting in your humid arms.

I thank you in advance.