Carroll Calling

Doug Carroll

Fishing and me do not mix, like Super Glue and kindergarten fingers, Apple and Microsoft, or Aquaman and diuretics.

Over the last three decades, I have attempted to learn the finer points of fishing during annual weekend getaways with my namesake father and little brother, Joe. Long story short, by the end of each and every one of these fishing trips, Dougie is more anguished than angler.

Dad and little bro will try one more time to turn me into at least a novice fisherman. They have planned another family fishing weekend for late September at Lake Beshear in Kentucky.

If you happen to be in that area, come and observe the fun. I’ll be the guy in the middle of a boat untangling fishing line.

I have gone on these weekend excursions with them to such exotic places as Newton, Illinois, Norman Station, and Dawson Springs, Kentucky. My favorite trip was to Illinois where we stayed in a 1950s era motel right at the foot of the Burl Ives Memorial Bridge.

No, I did not catch many bass that time either, but I heard many entertaining tales about the late, great singer, Burl Ives.

Quite often I end these weekends without catching a single fish. This does not bother me one iota, but dad and little bro both say they must bear the brunt of family shame out in the fishing public because they are the teachers and I am the student failing at an uber rate.

Hey, I do not intentionally intend to dunk them into public fishing disgrace, so to speak. But what am I to do? I’m just a lousy fisherman who really does not care if I ever improve or not since I only go on these Carroll outings to spend time with family.

God bless the two of them for following the passion of patron Saint Peter. They have tried for nearly 40 years to turn me into a fisherman because of their love and enjoyment for outdoor sports. But to no avail.

In fact, as the years roll by, I might be getting worse at fishing.

The last weekend we went lake bass fishing I did not have more than two or three nibbles on my line while dad and brother hauled in catch after catch into our little dinghy, the USS Sturgis Kentucky. The best I could muster was hooking a bluegill through the dorsal fin with a bass lure.

Before you congratulate me on finally snagging some type of freshwater creature, you must know that dad and little brother are of the catch-and-release fishing school. Thus, I had to toss the fish back into the lake instead of keeping it for evidence of my angling skill or possible wall mount.

I begged them to take a photo for posterity, but they refused. They claim the both of them had suffered enough humiliation due to my fishing exploits.

Both guys are master bass fishermen while I am the ichthyological idiot of all Carrolls. I swear dear readers, they are so good and me so pathetic that my outdoorsman DNA had to come from the shallow end of the Carroll fishing gene pool.

Dad and little bro have competed in Bassmaster tournaments in a couple of states and once placed second as a team. Dad still believes they would have claimed the top prize money and trophy that day but little brother let “the big one” get away.

Each year dad and Joe learn the latest bass angling techniques from the athletes who compete in the Bassmaster Elite Series. These are the same athletes who catch nothing short of prize-winning fish with each cast on those early Saturday morning TV shows.

The Bassmaster Carrolls buy the latest equipment and lures to prepare for our little weekend excursions and then try to endow me with both the topmost knowledge and fishing gear since I possess neither. Honestly, I think they both spend time and money on modern bass stuff because they have made it a bucket list item to turn little old me into at least a capable fisherman.

I hate to burst their bobber, uh, I mean bubble, but I have little interest in fishing beyond our weekends. Why I do not share their love for the sport I am not sure, though I do have one theory.

All my life I’ve never been able to eat fish or seafood of any kind. There is something in these water vittles that cause me to undergo an allergic reaction wherein my body skips digestion and goes directly to explosion at both ends, if you catch my drift.

On second thought, I hope you never catch my drift in this matter.

During the three years I lived and worked in Florida, I tried all kinds of fresh seafood and the results never changed. I broke out in hives and, well, I have already described the rest of my bodily reactions.

The way I see it folks, the fish somehow sense my allergy toward their kind and avoid my lures and hooks as a goodwill gesture to my health. They are doing me a huge favorite.

That’s my fish story and I’m sticking to it.

Doug Carroll can be reached at

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