Lines From Upstream: The Catch-All

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Publishers note: May 19 2020

This poem originally appeared in our September / October 2014 print edition. Scott has recently published a hardcover book of his works. You may purchase a book directly from the publisher here: Lines From Upstream

Congratulations Scott

 By: Scott Schmidt


Vernon found the Catch-All in a rusty little box,

At a yard sale in Price County, underneath a bag of socks.

At first he didn’t believe it, that he could be so blest,

That he’d ever find such treasure Vernon never would have guessed.

For the Magic of the Catch-All was a Legend passed from old,

With fish-catching abilities a wonder to behold.

But many fishing seasons gone, the Catch-All disappeared,

No one knew its whereabouts, its permanent loss was feared.

But Vernon, by some stroke of luck or Divine Intervention,

Had stumbled on that mighty tool of fishless day prevention.

Staggered, Vernon couldn’t believe the magnitude of his luck,

When he paid for the awesome Catch-All and got change back from a buck.

Vernon raced back to his truck and quickly got his boat,

He grabbed his favorite fishing rod and left his wife a note.

He drove straight to the landing, got his boat into the water,

Then he motored to a weed bed and got ready for the slaughter.

He tied the Catch-All to his line and rifled out a cast.

A Muskie grabbed the Catch-All before it even splashed.

Vern let out a joyous cry and fought the Muskie in.

He let it go at boatside, then he casted out again.

The Catch-All hit the water, Vern turned the crank a bit,

The Catch-All barely jiggled and immediately was hit.

The second fish was bigger but the Catch-All’s hooks were strong,

Soon Vern released a Muskie nearly fifty inches long!

And on it went till nearly dawn, Vern hooked, and fought, for sure,

A fish on every single cast with the Magic Catch-All Lure.

Like most devoted anglers, Vern was not about to brag,

Or spread the word about the bait that had just worn out his drag.

He never used the Catch-All unless he was alone,

Even his beloved wife was never to be shown.

When asked about the secret to his phenomenal success,

Vern was always humble, he’d say, ” Just luck, I guess.”

Until one day in a tourney, with the competition tough,

Vern said to me, his partner, “I think I’ve had enough.”

He said, “Put your rod down Schmidty, and you just man the net.”

“You won’t believe this lure I got, we’ll win this tourney yet.”

Vern reached into his bait box, on his face a silly grin,

Then revealed to me the Catch-All, saying, “Let the fun begin!”

He held it out to show me and a lump formed in my throat,

As the myth became reality when a fish jumped in the boat.

Word spread fast across the lake, “The Catch-All has been found!”

The tournament contestants and the judges gathered round.

And soon we were surrounded by a hundred boats, or more,

A chopper hovered overhead and people lined the shore.

The Catch-All worked its Magic, the crowd worked keeping score,

Vern fished till he was tired but they made him fish some more.

Vernon’s arms were getting numb, his line was wearing thin,

But the crowd still hadn’t had enough, they made him cast again.

And that was when his line broke, and the Catch-All sailed away,

Through the air in a perfect arc, to everyone’s dismay.

At first the crowd was stunned, no sound did we make,

But then, as if on signal, we all jumped in the lake.

I’d never seen such chaos, confusion all around,

Hundreds dived to find the Catch-All, surely some of them would drown.

Boats were swamped, people clawed, and fought with kicks and screams,

But they didn’t find the Catch-All, that Lure of all our dreams.

When all was peace and calm again, the body count was high,

Which proved that for the Catch-All, some fishermen would die.

For the Lure of the Mighty Catch-All, with its Magic, and its Charm,

Will cause any type of angler to risk injury and harm.

Now they say the Legend’s over, that the Catch-All’s gone for good,

And the tale keeps growing taller, just as every Legend should.

They say it’s gone forever, to where is anybody’s guess,

Just don’t ask me about the secret to my  phenomenal success.

                                  The End

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