Fishing Merit Badge, Part I

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,301 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Outpost/Fishing Merit Badge, I was inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yep, that’s right: that pigtailed whippersnapper who was always scampering off behind the ol’ log cabin to do some fishing. Yes, fishing. She was the quintessential American tomboy, and the kiddo sure knew how to eat. Those books always make me so hungry … mmm, fish!

The only other time I’ve tried the sport of fishing (Is it a sport? A hobby? An art form? A pastime?) was during an especially long employee barbeque, where I got bored, wandered off, offered to man a pole for a pal, fell asleep, and got a wicked sunburn. And no fish. So, I had a bit of PTSD to overcome, but I was all in. Committed. Eager to learn (and eat).

For the Beginning Level badge, I just needed to learn some fishing knots: clinch, Palomar, turle, barrel knot, and double surgeon’s loop. Who knew there were knots in fishing, anyway? Not me, said the little red hen.

I started with the Palomar. Why? I liked the sound of it. It seemed mysterious. Who was Palomar and why did he get a knot named after him? Why was a tiny wad of twisted rope his legacy? What was written on his tombstone, and more importantly, did he scamper off behind the ol’ log cabin to do some fishing?


The Palomar took some tries, some old-fashioned elbow grease, and some determination, but with my tongue between my teeth, I got it done. It looked pretty swell! And oh, I forgot to mention, we fisherwomen use this particular knot to attach our fish hook to our line. It also comes in handy for earring-making, though I needed some new dangly bobs (get it?). Earrings made of fly fishing ties? Is there a badge for that, cuz sign me up. I swear, the fishing fashion lures me in (get it?).

Moving on, I chose the clinch. Easy to say, easy to tie. The clinch is used to attach the line to a hook or a lure, when attaching a leader to a fly. What did I just say? I haven’t the foggiest. I think that might be Level Two. Gulp.

I moved straight along to the surgeon’s loop. I confess to being initially intimidated by this one, because after all, I didn’t go to medical school. I get weak at the sight of blood. Luckily, the title was misleading and there was no open-heart surgery or anything like that involved. And the blood? Well, that probably comes when I move on to the hooks.

Little stinkers.

My fingers working feverishly fast at the speed of snail, I got through my knots and felt pretty proud of myself. I also felt a little hungry, and did you hear that? The sound of my name? Was that the river? Was the river calling me? I felt sure it was. And so, without much ado, I waded into the waters, so to speak, of Level Two …

… Stay tuned!

  1. Darlene Ricotta says:

    That sounds like fun, I haven’t been fishing in forever but the knots sound like a good idea.

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