Fishing Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

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—7,653 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 Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I collected my knots: double surgeon’s loop, turle, barrel knot, Palomar, and clinch. I was giddy with excitement (and also hunger). The first step was to head out to the Department of Fish and Game! (I am trying not to use so many exclamation points, but I felt that deserved one because I’ve never been there before.) Other places I’ve yet to go to:

Spatulas R Us

Shirley You Drive Truck Rental


Wok This Way

Curl Up and Dye Salon

But I digress. Anyway, my fellow fisherwomen, my mistresses of the sea, my water babies, I ventured into the Department of Fish and Game with eagerness. I was ready to learn all about my state’s laws and regulations and to familiarize myself with the available fish (not to mention the bait with which to lure said fishies). The people there were so nice. They didn’t even look too confused when I asked them why Palomar got a knot named after him/her. Well, they didn’t have an answer either, but they seemed nearly as intrigued as I was, so I felt like I really fit in.

I chatted for a bit with a sweet gal named Debbie. Turns out, Debbie was an expert fisherwoman, and once I cultivated her friendship with a latte and a homemade granola bar, she was willing to share a few helpful hints with Yours Truly.

Hey, I’m not above bribery.

Idaho, my new bestie said, is home to the best Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in the world. She showed me what they look like (a peculiar sort of beauty: I find it more attractive on a plate with some wild garlic and a wedge of lemon). Did Debbie merely point out a crudely drawn rendition of a salmon? Oh, never let it be said. No way, Jay, she pulled out her wallet and unfolded what looked to be hundreds of snapshots of herself with her catches.

Methinks Debbie does not have children yet.

Or if she does, they are either extremely shy or hiding behind the ginormous salmon.

I was immediately intimidated by Debbie’s catches. Don’t worry, she assured me, you’ll be starting out small, and odds are, you won’t be pulling out fish the size of a Volkswagen any time soon. At least she hoped not. Debbie is competitive.

With my arms laden with stacks of brochures, I finally left my home away from home, the Department of Fish and Game (no exclamation point needed now that I’ve been there).

Once home, I settled my cravings with a tuna melt and burrowed down for the evening with my rules and regulations, and also my handy-dandy wall poster on bait. Although I was determined to live up to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s standards of a good old worm on a the end of a piece of string attached to a stick, I didn’t mind knowing the more modern stuff, too. You never know. Apparently, fish are picky little things sometimes, and you have to experiment with what they like on any given day. I can relate. I mean, sometimes there’s nothing better than a medium-rare steak with some tossed greens, but other times, all I really want is a PB & J! So I get it, fishies, I totally get it.

I dreamed that night of fish and worms, baits and knots, Laura and Debbie. It was a restless kind of sleep, that kind that only comes when you know you’ll be rising with the dawn, pulling on your waders, and goin’ fishing.

Jump on in, girls, the water’s fine.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Ahhh, those who love fishing! Me? I just can’t do the bait thing, the watching the fish struggle to breathe thing, or the clean up thing. So, I just retreat from the lets go fishing excitement and encourage those who love it to go and enjoy. My husband loves to go fishing so I do get the enthusiasm part. I just can’t beam up to the task! What sort of whimpy Farmgirl am I?? Does knitting count?

  2. Elizabeth says:

    So did you catch anything? Did you save it or catch~N~release?

    My brother & I used to fish off the dock of the Bay for hours. We would catch these beautiful orange (to this day, still don’t know what they are called?) goldlike fish, only they were flat as pancakes…well some pancakes anyway;-) Those fish were small, perhaps twice the size of a silver dollar but not much bigger. We always threw them back & probably caught the same ones at least twice in a day;-)

    There is a certain beauty being in, on or near the water watching the sunlight reflecting softly in all directions. Jesus seemed to enjoy fishing too so there must be true Merit in the Fishing Merit Badge? I used to love to go crabbing with my mom, it was so much fun! Haven’t tried to lure a lobster in yet but I sure don’t mind the taste! Ah seafood, “It’s a Good Thing” 🙂

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