Catch and Release
Catch and Release

Guys with fish pics on their Tinder accounts are not typically my go-to choices for dates. You know the type–big, grinning guys showing off their trophies like some Cap’n Ahab (a shout out to Melville fans!). When I told the BF, a guy I met last year who included a fishing conquest in his profile photos, that some women automatically swipe left when they see a guy holding a halibut, he just laughed. “How the hell do you think that fish got into your taco?” he asked as I bit into some ruby red ahi cradled inside a warm flour tortilla.


So imagine my reluctance when I recently received a Tinder note from a classically handsome, square-jawed guy in trendy black-framed glasses who had not one, but two, fish photos posted with his profile, plus another of him standing next to a stuffed moose whose antler’s spanned from here to Timbuctoo. I read his very lengthy (at least for guys on Tinder) introduction that included a line about his appreciation for a “spontaneous crossing of paths,” like we could be embarking on some great, unplanned adventure.

After a flurry of back and forth messages with him, I learned he’s a professional photographer from a small river town in Oregon who’d taken 100+ trips all over the world. Armed with just that, I was ready to get my Sherlock Holmes on. Two Google searches later, I had his full name, addresses, and a lovely video of his ex-wife fly fishing–plus an engagement photo dated 2014 of him gazing into the camera and cheek-to- cheek with whom I assume became wife number two. Hmmmm, I think. Wonder what happened there?

The hook didn’t stay in my mouth for long.

Unlike some guys whose stories are so bat-shit crazy that it’s immediately obvious they’re imposters, this guy is who he says he is. He’s a specific kind of wildlife photographer, his work very well documented as he likes to share his adventures in interviews. Nothin’ wrong with that and more power to him and his impressive collection of lures.

But when you fish in a small pond, you might just get pulled under.

Cut to last Saturday, and my gal pal Alpha J and I are waiting for an Uber to take us to a CA Equality event (a tremendous organization that protects the civil rights of LGBTQ people), and I whip out my phone to show her my new mr. wonderful in a cute blue plaid shirt and navy tie. Her eyes narrow. “Uh, does he have a fish picture on there, too?” I swipe the screen to reveal his silver-scaled, six-foot trophy catch, the fish’s mouth gaping. “OMG, he’s writing to me, too!”

And with that, phone screens side by side, we saw that he had–wait for it–cut and pasted the very same lengthy introduction to both of us–all he changed was the name after Dear.

Is this unethical, dear readers? I’ve been known to juggle a couple of guys at once back in my prime without misleading anyone of my intentions. And if this guy is legally divorced from the last lady in question (which I could confirm with one more click on the keyboard), he can correspond with gals in every port if he sees fit and if he can go, well, the distance.

It gets back to what I’ve lamented before on this subject–fish guy probably has dozens and dozens of women to choose from, so he simply made the most efficient use of his time. To be fair, after that first form letter, his back and forth was different with each of us. Alpha tends to share more info with these guys than I’m comfortable doing with someone whose voice I’ve never heard, plus she knows her way around a boat and a fishing pole herself. They could be a good match based on interests alone.

But for me, I get a slight metallic taste in my mouth when I read the line to both of us about our spontaneously crossed paths; I think this road has too many forks in it. Another online match, an accountant who wants a coffee date this week, is looking better and better.

So here’s the clincher–the photographer told both of us he plans to visit the desert when he returns from Chile or Ecuador or someplace exotic with a coastline. And if you know me, you know where I’m going with this–do Alpha and I both show up and give him a great big welcome he’ll never forget? My friend CB says he’d buy a ticket just to watch.

Stay tuned.

Click to read the next post: “Woo Woo World”
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