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Published May 05, 2009, 12:00 AM

Column: Angling takes pressure off virus

All the talk of swine flu around the newsroom is beginning to make my skin crawl, so I've decided to take up fishing.

By: By Greta Petrich, Editor, The Osakis Review

All the talk of swine flu around the newsroom is beginning to make my skin crawl.

While I used to find myself slightly concerned about sick people in public, these days I’m downright irritated and it’s given me a full-blown case of germophobia.

I avoid meeting new people these days just to avoid the required handshake. I’m staying away from shopping and other busy public places. I find myself daydreaming about redecorating my cubicle with “Do Not Cross” police tape and I’ve now got a bottle of Lysol in my desk drawer.

Each time I leave my desk, I return wondering who sat in my chair, touched my keyboard, shuffled my papers or used my phone. Yes, things I’ve always thought were icky are starting to scare me.

Since I can’t hide at home, I’ve decided to take up a new hobby that’s far from people, germs and the virus that has wrongly made pork a four-letter word.

I’m going to become a fisherman… fisherwoman… angler.

The trouble is, this English language specialist is having trouble with the new dialect.

Jig, structure, back-trolling and crank baits?

I’d say those words are Greek to me, except that Greek comes a lot easier than this strange angler language.

I thought I could simply head out to my back yard to find some bait, a.k.a. worms.

Wrong. It seems the underwater world has grown accustomed to the wiggly, squiggly worm and now requires tricky things like buzz bait – doesn’t the noise scare the fish? Or crank bait – sounds heavy and noise, jerk bait – have walleye developed a spicy palate? And of course plugs – for the ears? To protect you from all the noisy bait?

In addition to my bait problem, I’m also wondering why I need anything more than a rod, reel and some fishing line. No, I need a snap, sinker and leader.

As helpful as the kind people at bait shops try to be, they all look hopeless after my blank stare that comes from their question whether I’m bait casting, drifting, jigging or trolling.

And don’t even get me started on buying a Flu-Flu jig.