Fish Tales

By Daren Schuettpelz

“I’m going to hit that jenky piece of…” Darryl hollers in delight, but his glee quickly changes to a yelp of pain, with a hint of impetuous regret, as the hook lodges firmly in his lip.


They call me Eritque Arcus and Darryl is my cousin. Darryl, like most trout, obsesses about his first piercing; it’s our own right of passage.

Those lunkers downriver teased Darryl mercilessly because of his pierceless lip, so I’m not surprised when a noob rockets a made-in-a-factory barbless hook – poorly disguised as a larva – into our pool – that Darryl hits it like the fist of an angry god.

Proper trout etiquette dictates we take a more selective approach to help avoid what happens next. The novice angler fish-gasms and launches Darryl into a tree where he dangles painfully. I swear that tree gets bigger and bigger each time Darryl tells the story.

Daren Schuettpelz lives in Germany, where he teaches high school English to military-connected students. His work is forthcoming in Beyond Words and The Evening Street Review.