Guest Blogger: Joe Dellaria, Woodbury MN

It’s a subtle undertone that is always there. Questions like, “You are going fishing, again?” The question would be ok, even with the “again” at the end of the question. It’s when you hear the question and the again is drawn out, like “agaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin?” with a touch of resignation at the end.

When friends ask how my weekend was and I say happily, “Great!”

They ask, “Oh, you went trout fishing agaiiiiiiin?”

Just because I average around 35 outings a year and about 125-150 hours on the water doesn’t necessarily mean I am addicted to trout fishing. Sure, I enjoy catching trout. But think of all the good reasons to trout fish:

1. It’s a great way to get exercise (I wade fish.)
2. I get to enjoy nature
3. I need to get my shoulder back in shape after rotator cuff surgery (Ignoring the fact that the problem started after fly fishing for over 11 hours two days in a row!),
4. It usually takes 20-30 minutes, minimum, to describe how my last trip went and
5. Keeping a few trout for dinner is good for my health (even though we end up giving most away as we don’t really care for trout.).

I could give more reasons, but these are the most convincing.

One of the prime signs of addiction is a lack of awareness of how the addict’s behavior influences the lives of those around them. I know exactly how my behavior influences my wife (the kids are out of the house now). It gives her some quiet time to pursue her own hobbies uninterrupted by me!

In any event, today I got incontrovertible evidence I am not addicted. It happened in the most innocent way.

My wife broke her wrist last year and I went with her to her last post-surgery follow-up appointment. We needed to make a decision on whether to have the plate and screws removed so she asked me to come along. Which I gladly did (It was raining hard and the river was up over three feet, so why not?).

Midway through the appointment the doctor recommended doing carpal tunnel surgery. We all agreed that made sense. The doctor continued, “Let’s set that up.”

As he was making a note to himself, I asked, “Are you planning on removing the plate and screws at the same time?” It seemed like he had forgotten that needed to be done too.

He answered, “Good point, we should do both at the same time.”

I responded in jest, “Good, that way she will be ready for the fly-fishing season opener!”

He quickly replied to my wife, “You fly fish????” Seemingly stunned by the possibility.

My wife replied, “NO, he does! (agaiiiiiin, as she pointed at me) with a note of resignation in her voice.

The doctor nearly leapt out of his chair with excitement as he said, “You do, where do you fish?”

Ten minutes later we were deep in a discussion about my last outing. My wife interrupted and reminded us, “Aren’t we supposed to be arranging a time for my surgery?”

The doctor sheepishly replied, “Yeah, right. Sorry about that. Let me get the appointment nurse in here.”

The nurse came in and explained what would happen and took us to the appointment computer across the hall to pick a date. She cheerily called out the first three days of the following week as a possibility.

I replied, “Well let me check my fishing schedule to see where this will fit best (I thought that was completely reasonable since I would be responsible for driving her to and from the surgery facility and staying with her to ensure she was okay after the anesthesia.).

The nurse said, “You know it’s not about you. All this is distracting.”

The doctor happened to walk by as the nurse said that.

I looked at the doctor and asked, “Did you find our discussion distracting?”

He replied with a smile as he said, “Not in the least. I actually found it rather fascinating”

There you have it! An independent source confirming that talking about trout fishing was fascinating. Obviously, I can’t be a trout fishing addict! Done. I rest my case.

Just in case you are still not convinced, I assured my wife as we drove home, “I can stop trout fishing any time I feel like it.” Then quietly I muttered under my breath, “It’s just that I never feel like it!”


  1. Joe,

    More than reasonable; you’re going above and beyond here. Ability to use an arm the rest of one’s life does carry a high priority, and does indeed come slightly before not being able to fish a river anyway because it’s swollen. Nothing short of heroic, I say.

    You are no addict. That nurse needs an attitude adjustment of course.

    – Mike

    1. Hi Bill,
      Excellent point. I will try that line next time I discuss this with my wife!

      Sorry for the slow response, this past week was incredibly busy and I only got to go fishing once.
      All the best, Joe

  2. Fishing is hunting without the loud bang.
    “The doctor didn’t want me to play golf anymore and was worried about me fly-fishing. Golf is something I enjoy, but fly-fishing is a different thing: That’s religion. Fishing is religion for me. I didn’t want to give those up.”
    Tom Brokaw

    My sentiments, exactly

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