Ask Matt Labash

Ask Matt Labash: Fly Fishing apolitically, the worst governor in America (Martin O’Malley), and wingnut environmentalism

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Matt Labash
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      Matt Labash

      Hi, welcome to “Ask Matt Labash.” I’ll be your host, Matt Labash. The idea for this column – if idea isn’t too strong a word – is that it is not a column at all. Rather, it’s a conversation. One in which I do ninety-five percent of the talking. If you did most of the talking, you’d have to watch my eyes go dead and my attention wander until it was my turn to talk again. So trust me, it’s better this way.

      For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow. But wisdom is what they gave me, so wisdom is all I have to give back to you.

      This is not, you should know, a mere advice column. If you need advice, I’ll give it. But the only rule here is that there are no rules. You can ask me a question about anything that’s on your mind: current events, pop culture, media, theology, string theory, fishing tips, wicker repair. The only limits we have are those of your imagination. And those of my knowledge base. Which is considerably limited, truth be told. So try not to ask me anything that requires research. Though they tell me I have access to Google on this computer if we need it.

      If all goes according to plan, ours will not be a traditional writer/reader relationship. It’s more complex than that. I might empathize or cajole. I might educate, instruct, or inspire. I might pretend to answer your question while actually reporting you to Social Services, since you’re a dangerous person who should not have contact with children. I might tell you to climb up on my shoulders, that you’re not heavy, you’re my brother. Or I might tell you that you are heavy, and that you should hop down until you lose a few pounds. I might just sidle up behind you, put my big strong man hands on the small of your back, and whisper in your ear the words of the poet, Kenny Rogers: “We’ve got tonight, who needs tomorrow?”

      To which you’ll say something like, “I can’t, I’ve got to go home and wash my hair.”
      To which I’ll say something like, “Shhh. We’ve got tonight babe, why don’t you stay?”
      Wherever this takes us, our journey begins now:

      <i>Matt Labash is a senior writer with The Weekly Standard. His first book, <a href="">Fly Fishing with Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys</a> will be published next month by Simon & Schuster.</i>

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have a burning sensation? Consult your doctor. Have a burning question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

Mr. Labash, you being a conservative-leaning fly fisherman, I am sure you understand my hesitance to spend my hard earned money in liberal states like Washington and Oregon, when they get enough of it already through redistribution (Oklahoma is a donor state…. ) I am getting married later this year to a similarly minded, equally awesome fly fisher. He wants to honeymoon in the Northwest and fish for steelhead, a species with which neither of us has much experience. However, I would really like to go to Alaska and fish for grayling. No matter what we will go somewhere trout or salmonid oriented….. What are your thoughts? Thanks!! Amanda,  Tulsa

First, congratulations on getting married. Second, condolences on being from the Twister State. You kids have had a rough ride this year, and I salute your stoicism in the face of Mother Nature’s hissy fits. It’s great that you both fish. You will likely have many happy outings together. However, I personally stick by my decision to marry a non-fisherwoman.  Somebody should mind the store, exhibit responsible behavior, and generally make the trains run on time. These are essential life skills not readily compatible with the fishing-bum ethos. One spouse in any marriage should be a fully-evolved human being. So it might as well be my wife. (With both of you being fishing obsessives, who will pay the bills and raise the children?) As a Montana guide once told me that he tells his clients when they ask if he wants to marry a girl who fishes: “F-ck no! I want a girl who rows!”

I’d be a poseur if I weighed in on great fishing spots of the coastal Northwest or Alaska. The furthest west I’ve ever fished is Idaho. Most of what I know of Northwest fishing comes secondhand from David James Duncan. And my Alaska knowledge is equally pretender-ish, derived from reading fishing memoirs, viewing nature documentaries, and watching Sarah Palin club a halibut to death. (While perhaps envisioning Karl Rove.) I’ve never caught grayling, and I just caught my first couple of steelhead last year – some gleaming, chrome muscled missiles making their run out of Lake Erie. They refused all the overhyped egg patterns I got suckered into buying, while they greedily inhaled my boring black krystal bugger — the same one I throw to largemouth bass. (As you can imagine, I’ll be back for more.)