Think You’re Ready to Date? Let’s Go Fishing!

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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Yes, there are Plenty of Fish in the Sea. But how to choose the right one?

As a public service to discerning singles everywhere, I submit this brief taxonomy of Fishy Dating Prospects, based on field observations and hard-won lessons.

1. The Fake Baiter

This is the match standing on the pier, eyeing you up and down, looking all jaunty and enticing — they’ve even set their cap at a rakish angle — but when you get close enough to peer into into the bait bucket they’re cheerfully swinging from one hand…it’s completely empty.

They can’t sustain a conversation. Or they only want a textlationship. They just want to have fun! They’re “ethically nonmonogamous”!

Or they decline a weekend invitation (after what they claimed was an amazing Friday night date) because…ready for it?….they’re too busy cleaning house.

2. The Amateur

Too lazy to become familiar with either native or exotic fish, this plenty-of-fish debutant thinks they can use the same pole, the same line, the same hook, the same bait for every type of fish, no matter where that fish comes from: saltwater, freshwater, pond, creek, river, lake, ocean.

Fish are fish, right?

Their endless recycling of identical material will succeed in netting them the following: floaters, invasive species, and bottom feeders.

3. The Distracted Fisher

These are the people convinced that if they just stick a line in the water, fish will magnetically attach themselves to their hook.

They’re so convinced of their inherent attractiveness, and/or so busy multitasking (e.g., with their All Important Work or their Insatiably Princely Offspring) they don’t have the attention span of a fly.

Tugs on their line will go unnoticed. Their bait will disintegrate. Fish will give up and go elsewhere.

4. The Speedboater

Every photo of this wanna-be fisher features a contrived pose, sunglasses, a glossy setting, or all of the above.

They are out to see and be seen. They do not handle fish; they do not touch bait. Ick! Must not soil their soft, pale, exquisitely manicured fingers.

The only fish these people can handle are two-dimensional (on a screen) or dead, shellacked, and mounted on a wall.

5. The Mournful Fisher

This individual, a close relative of Pooh Bear’s friend Eeyore, is a variation of the Distracted Fisher; only in their sad, sad, case, the fishing pole has gone slack in their grasp, their line sunk to the bottom of the pond.

Subsumed with depressively romanticized stories of all the fish that got away, they have no energy remaining — not even for the gleaming goldfish swimming slowly, seductively, an arm’s reach away.

6. The Tourist

Then there are those who show up on the pier all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, kitted out in picture-perfect fly-fishing outfits and spanking new gear, smiling goofily, craning their necks this way and that.

Because they don’t know a damn thing about fishing.

They need — no, they demand! — a tour guide. Someone to bring the rod, acquire the bait, take them to the fishing spot, place the bait on the hook, and show them what and how and where and how long to fish.

If they ever catch anything, these blessed fools wouldn’t have a clue of what to do next.

7. The Pirate

This saucy (or swarthy), swashbuckled, swoon-worthy, swaggering someone has no need of fishing gear or fishing boats, because they will ever-so-stealthily, ever-so-sexily, take over yours.

Ever tempted by the next sparkly treasure, they will only keep you onboard as a foxy wench or deck-scrubber in between ports-of-call (where other prospects await).

Should you dare to protest, they will cheerfully order you to walk the plank, or, if they’re feeling generous, strand you on the nearest deserted isle.

8. The Tipsy Fisher

At first glance, these particular numb-nuts appear to be sweet and chill, but under closer inspection, you discover that before/during/after setting out on a fishing expedition, because they are very 420-friendly, they must indulge in a toke. Just to relax. You know, get them in the mood.

The last you saw them, they were still stuck on the dock: peering near-sightedly at one end of their reel, then the other, trying fruitlessly to untangle a hopelessly messed up line.

9. The Dullard

All they can talk about is fish. Or fishing. Or boats. Or fishing boats.

10. The Pelican

Claiming to be a wildlife lover, a naturalist, or an outdoorsy type who “loves walks on the beach,” they show up sporting a sizable gut/muffin top. Turns out they only use motorized conveyances, and can’t remember the last time they used their own two feet (or arms) to go fishing.

These folks will follow you around on the dock endlessly, as long as you keep tossing fish into their open, expandable beaks.

And finally, the Dater Type I am still waiting for:

11. The Pro

S/he doesn’t need expensive gear, just the right gear. They can sit calmly by the water for hours at a stretch, enjoying the breeze, respecting the wildlife. They’re acutely attuned to their line, and can feel even the gentlest tug.

They can fish in the rain, and might even try a bit of ice fishing. If the fishing spot requires waders, they have some in the car, and they look good wearing them.

When they land their fish, they know how to prepare it, how to cook it. (No over-seasoning, no skanky oil, no rubbery flesh.)

And they really, really like eating fresh, finger-licking-good, fish.

Written by

Ethnoecologist and #VanLife Coach exploring humanity, the natural world, and multispecies relationships. More at

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