If there is one thing I have learned about fishing, it is that it takes patience. In my case that patience has to stretch beyond a slow morning of fishing, but over several outings and many, many years.
A little while ago, the Tribune ran a feature on ice fishing. This was probably a more momentous occasion here in the newsroom than elsewhere, because it was going to be the first time I caught a fish. If you read it, you know that didn't happen.
I went out again this week, this time skipping the ice and heading out with our fishing columnist Doug Busey.
I'll go ahead and deliver the punch line now, which you have probably already guessed. Call me Fishless Joe.
Now I've gone fishing before I moved to Tahoe. I grew up in a small town just south of Fresno, where the best fishing hole was on the back nine at the golf course. As a kid I remember going out with my cousin, who had the same bait as me and stood no more than an arms-length away, and couldn't bait his hook fast enough while my buoy never got fully wet.
If you don't remember the ice fishing story that Dylan Silver wrote, I'll refresh my misfortunes a bit.
We were out before 9 a.m. on the day Kirkwood sold to Vail Resorts, and our lines didn't shake one bit all morning and into the early afternoon. We left to cover the purchase of the mountain and, soon after, our companions on the ice had fish jumping out of the holes. They sent many photos.
I'm starting to think it really is just me.
Maybe somewhere down the line I angered the fishing gods. This was reinforced on my most recent outing with Mac the Naw. I figured if anyone was going to help me land my first catch, he was a good bet.
We went to Indian Creek Reservoir, a familiar fishing hole for Busey, who pointed out several places along the shore that were good spots.
Within the first hour I had a solid nibble, but failed to jerk the pole back. All I got was an empty hook.
That was probably the fishing gods' cruelest joke of the day, as it gave me false hope.
I switched to lures a little while later and, at one point while reeling in, I felt a good tug and started to reel faster.
It felt like a fish was fighting back and I was turning the crank hard. But Busey, who saw me struggling, quickly pointed out that I was stuck in the weeds. I could have sworn it was a big one.
Apparently my bad luck rubbed off on Busey, too, as he also left empty-handed. We walked around the shore a bit and came across a group that had caught two - nothing to shout about, but apparently my luck was only restricted to us.
On the day I caught a few sticks, I also caught a gnarly sunburn on my arms, but I won't say that it was a waste of a trip.
If I looked at fishing as only being successful with fish, well then I'd be in pretty bad shape.
Nonetheless, I need to shake this new name sometime soon but, until then, call me Fishless Joe.