I don’t go fishing much on opening day. For one thing, it’s always too cold. About the last thing I want to do after freezing my nether parts off all winter is take them out in a fishing boat where I can freeze them off some more. Bad as winters have been lately, they’re all nearly froze and gone. I feel inclined to hang on to what’s left.

I’ll leave it to you to define “nether parts.”

That’s not the only reason I don’t go out opener.  The fish you catch on opener are always more important than the fish you catch later on. Conversely then, the opposite must also be true. The fish you don’t catch are also more important. Better to not go than to go, freeze off some things plus not catch a fish that would be easier to not catch later on, say in July, when at least you could not catch it while you were warmly basking in the sun and when it’s not so important.

I also don’t go because there’s always the problem of fishing etiquette on opening day, which I worry about. Is it proper to hose last year’s banana peels, beer cans, candy wrappers, old minnow scoops, your deceased uncle’s lost false teeth, dead fish, dehydrated minnows, that can of night crawlers that your relatives spilled under the seat and didn’t tell you about–all of which have been floating as a gluey soup stock in the bottom of the boat all winter, sloshing and stewing repulsively in a smelly mix of spilled two-cycle oil, gasoline and flat beer.

Here’s the deal: At the end of a summer’s fishing, all these things are a badge of honor, one that shows anybody who gets into your boat that you’re a guy who means fishing business. That you’re not the type who’s going to let shoveling out your boat cut into your fishing time, regardless of whether or not your butt sticks to the boat seats. So? The question: Is all this detritus a badge of honor come opening day? Or is it proof that you’re a nonrecalcitrant slob.

Rather than risk breaching wrong etiquette, I just stay home. Later on in the summer , me and last year’s sea of floating garbage in the boat are back to honorable-mention fishing badges of honor. No one will know it’s last year’s, you see. 

Besides, it’s always crowded on fishing opener. Lots of boats crowding on the few good spots. For me, this raises not one but two problems. First, my small and tricky bladder. Combine that with my large and steady modesty, and I find it very hard to stand up–in a rocking boat anyway–unzip, and pee over the edge in full view of a fleet of fellow anglers. I say this even though the Tribe of Guys is probably going to kick me out. Lots of real men, some of whom have drank rivers of beer, don’t seem to have this problem. They truly are the unspoken champions of opening day. Most normal-bladdered men don’t even think of challenging them. I’m sure not going to.

The second problem? It kind of involves the first problem. Due to a basic engineering flaw in the male anatomy, when it’s real cold out the plumbing shrinks. Now, even though the bladder is screaming for action–which due to another design flaw may be a false signal–the   owner of the plumbing knows what’s going to happen.

Nothing. That’s what.

I don’t go fishing on opener.