by Dan Smith
Lately, it has come to my attention that as a writer, I have a very divided fan base. It seems a portion of the people who read "Land Lines" are somehow able to keep from thumbing into the depths of the Hometown News to peruse Fishing with Dan.
Others tell me that they had no idea that the fishing column Dan and the Land Lines Dan are one and the same. (I will pause here while you turn to "Fishing With Dan" back near the classifieds.)
Surprise! That's me wearing a disguise.
I have been wearing that hat for close to seven years now. Fans of that column often tell me that they don't bother reading the rest of the paper or much of anything else. As soon as their paper hits the driveway, they grab it up and turn to Fishing with Dan to glean the fishing tips that I try to include each week. I do appreciate such loyalty, but those crusty old salts are missing the interesting (quirky?) prose that I offer each week in "Land Lines." Why, just last week, I somehow managed to compare the implosion of the Ormond Beach hospital with the old TV series "The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis."
Come on, you won't find that kind of prose lying around on many coffee tables. Conversely, those of you who always stop at Page 3 and never take the time to check out the fishing column are also missing some literary pearls. A few weeks ago, I described my early morning kayak trip thusly: As the sun arose over the peninsula behind cotton candy clouds of pink and blue and smoke from a campfire cloaked selected trees like spun silk from a Catawba worm.
You can read yards of fishing reports and not find gems of that quality. Actually, I'm not sure how the readers of "Fishing with Dan" liked that insertion of flowery language into their fishing news.
Truth is, the fishing column is based on the seven or eight fish that we regularly catch here in the inshore. Consider that after seven years, I have written around 400 columns on those same seven or eight fish. Try that sometime.
Some years back, I wrote a book titled "I Swear The Snook Drowned." Although it purports to be a fishing book in reality, it is more like "Land Lines" set to water. In that book, you will surely find fishing tips, but mostly it consists of tales of adventure that I could not include in "Fishing with Dan." If you like this column, turn to the back of the paper and find ordering instructions for my book following the fishing report. While you won't find "Snook" in Oprah's Book Club list, I guarantee that you will find it interesting and entertaining.
Remember, Earnest Hemingway was also a pretty good fisherman (unashamed comparison to the great one). I am doing this particular column to try and promote some cross- reading (no not cross- dressing), but I know that the fishing crowd probably won't read anything in the front of the paper. Those weather-beaten old river rats (like myself) are totally opposed to this type of fine literature. So, I am writing this to you in hopes that I can convince you, the more cerebral crowd, to take a look at my fishing column. Actually, this fine paper allows me to write a column in the monthly Forever Young magazine section as well. That piece is geared to the aging baby boomer generation and the entire magazine is done on a theme. I'm not so good with those assigned stories, but I give it my all. To receive Forever Young, you must order a free subscription. Take a look - you might enjoy it. Now, with that one, I am doing a total of nine columns a month. That means that much of my tan these days comes from the glow of a computer screen, but I still enjoy it. Recently we expanded our circulation to include West Volusia County, and I welcome those folks aboard. It is comforting to know that my mug shot is lining birdcages all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the St. Johns River.
Dan Smith is on the board of directors for the Ormond Beach Historical Society, The Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of a fishing book.