The Fisherman’s Zodiac

A recent family dinner at a local Chinese restaurant was abruptly disrupted when my sister exclaimed a crude remark. “Garrett, you are a pig!” Though taken aback by the proclamation, I was relieved my brother was the target of the verbal assault. Without thinking twice I returned my attention to General Tso’s Chicken.


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Illustration: Matt Mignanelli

“Brent, you are a tiger,” she said. I must have been eating in a ravenous manner and shrugged off the apparent insult. When my mom was decreed an Ox, further explanation was required.

“It’s the Chinese Calendar,” she said. “Every animal has different qualities and compatibilities.” For the next hour the calendar dominated our conversation and got me thinking. There should be a Fisherman’s Zodiac, as I have witnessed several definitive angler personalities and levels of compatibility among each persona.

Over the course of the following weeks I embarked on a field study with various friends as the unknowing subjects. I documented behavioral patterns and astrological anomalies. The results were astounding, and so, Confucius Brent proudly presents the 8 Zodiac Signs of Fishermen.

The Professor
This angler can tie every knot known to man and answer any fishing related trivia question, but can’t adhere to the “shut-up and fish” mantra. An experienced angler, The Professor is a wonderful addition to any fishing team. However, with The Professor onboard one can expect endless advice and criticism. There are no carefree outings with The Professor, nor any lost fish that cannot be attributed to your error. The Professor is most compatible with The Natural, despises The Omen and should avoid The Guzzler.

The Guzzler
Not much of an angler, The Guzzler has an insatiable thirst for beer. This causes an instant clash with The Professor, who lectures him on the dangers of bringing glass on a boat. The oblivious Guzzler utilizes any occurrence to crack open another one. He counts not how many fish have been caught, rather beers consumed. The Guzzler is often seen sitting near a red cooler that matches the tone of his sunburned skin and always adorns dark-soled flip flops that leave his telltale marks. The Guzzler is most compatible once passed out, but until then should avoid The Professor at all cost.

The Natural
An angling newbie, The Natural takes to the sport like a fish to water. Studiously adhering to the tutelage of The Professor, The Natural astounds the other Zodiacs with innate skill and fishing fortune. After expertly subduing his first billfish, The Natural shrugs it off as beginner’s luck. The Natural enjoys the company of The Professor, is miffed by The Guzzler and confounded by The Shrieker.

The Meteorologist
There is an old saying, “Some are weather-wise, and some are otherwise.” The Meteorologist, despite the moniker, is the latter. He, like The Professor, spouts a running commentary, although his is related to the impending doom of approaching frontal boundaries. “Those stratus-nimbus are moving southeast. We may want to call it a day.” He expertly misnames each cloud and ominously forecasts gale conditions on a beautiful day. He’s delighted by The Shrieker, who anxiously hangs onto every word. The Meteorologist avoids The Guzzler who dismisses his gloomy predictions and insists he relax and have a beer.

The Butcher
“Keep it! Keep it! I’m sure it’s edible,” The Butcher indiscriminately shouts after each catch. Regardless of size or species, The Butcher sees only a filet on the end of a hook. Not interested in learning the nuances of angling, but rather filling the cooler, The Butcher bristles at the conservation lectures provided by The Professor. “I told my wife I would bring back fish,” he explains as he ices a slimy ‘cuda. In addition to The Professor, The Butcher avoids The Natural, but gravitates toward The Guzzler and a likely bout with ciguatera.

The Shrieker
More audible than visible, The Shrieker is often heard sounding a high-pitched squeal whenever something gross occurs. The Shrieker is strangely attracted to The Butcher who will happily swoop in upon the utterance “Eww, I see its guts…no way I’m eating that.” The Shrieker avoids The Natural and The Professor, and is terrified by the prophecies of The Meteorologist.

The Omen
Unlike The Natural who seems to attract circling frigates, hovering over The Omen is a seagull suffering from diarrhea. The Omen will be the one who gets pooped on, but is also likely to become impaled by a hook or chomped by The Butcher’s barracuda. The plagues that burden The Omen often doom any fishing trip and thus he is a general outcast. The Guzzler labels him a major buzz-kill and The Professor calls him a jackass.

The Historian
A columnist for a fishing magazine, The Historian documents all fishing outings, as well as the quirks and characteristics of his closest buddies. Though he does not reveal names, each friend recognizes his Zodiac and vows revenge on The Historian. Only The Natural seems happy with his portrayal (you’re welcome, Mark) and promises to disrupt any vengeful ploys.