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Thursday, October 29, 2009
Government option

By Dave Landahl
ESPNOutdoors.com

Every day we are bombarded with the talk of government-run healthcare and H1N1 clinics.

For hours and hours people stand in line waiting for a sniff of vaccine or a shot in the arm. Heck, the government even owns part of automotive giants GM and Chrysler. We have Pay Czars to monitor income and a czar for everything else.

Like the ticker on the news channel, these words kept running through my mind. Government owned. Government run. Government option. No wonder, as I drifted off to sleep last night, I had dreams of my beloved bi-partisan sport becoming a government-run option ...

Fishtopia
Every fishery has a czar, a unique fishing administrator with no fishing knowledge required. The czar dictates to you just how you can fish. No run-and-gun for you, VanDam! Reese, no banana-colored rods on the lake. Fewer choices mean less confusion for all of us. And we can take comfort in knowing that no one will be wearing crazy garb or catching more fish than you. We are all equal on the water.

A national fishing license is mandatory for every U.S. citizen over 16 years old who participates in fishing. The cost is $1,000 and in very limited supply. The quantity is decided by a task force made up of urban dwellers who don't fish.

Also, the limited supply of licenses is only available to high priority people. This group is decided by the same task force who decides the quantity of fishing licenses available to the public.

Massive lines form at government facilities where you wait about 4 or 5 hours to get a shot at buying your fishing license, if you qualify. Members of Congress, the President and any czar or task force member who wants to fish is exempt from the requirement to possess a fishing license.

There is a tax per each fish caught. The revenue, of course, goes to a general fund where the monies are spent according to some mandate from Congress that is interpreted by the Federal Judiciary system and then administered by yet another task force or czar. You hope and pray on every cast that you don't get the biggest fish, because you get taxed more for that one.

All lures and bait are rationed, just like sugar during WWII or H1N1 vaccines are today. Worms cannot be harvested from one's own yard. Instead, they must be purchased from the worm line, which forms about three miles back.

Known backyard worm harvesters are brought to justice, just like moonshiners were during prohibition.

You are required to purchase government-approved fishing gear. No choice here. No more visors or flip-flops. Just government-issued drab meant to "better" your existence on the water. They know what is best for you, don't ya know.

Government-administered fishing insurance is required. If you are one of the "high priority" folks who have the privilege of purchasing a fishing license you will be subject to a fine and jail time if you don't have the proper insurance.

Don't worry. All your personal information, including every fish you've ever caught, where you caught it, what time of day it was and your grandmother's blood type are all kept securely on your scanable insurance card.

In case of computer failure, neighbors and waterside residents are encouraged to report any "suspicious" fishing activity to the local Fish-stapo or Brown-bass shirts. Rewards abound for snitches ...

I woke up with sweat covering my body. My heart was racing as I ran to the TV to see if this dream was real or not. Whew! The fishing industry is still the same.

But, now that I think about it, I better go get in line for a flu shot.



Dave and Kristin Landahl host The Fishing Fanatics, www.TheFishingFanatics.com, radio show on ESPN radio affiliate AM 1360 WLBK in northern Illinois Thursday evenings from 6-7 PM Central time. You can also tune in to hear The Fishing Fanatics at www.1360wlbk.com and check them out at www.walleyecentral.com