- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Message to former Beatle Paul McCartney: Sir Paul, if you honestly believe that we will stop fishing because you think a fish’s life is as important as a human’s, forget it. About one in every four Americans fishes recreationally, so you will need more than good luck to succeed in stopping us. By the way, whatever it is you’re smoking, you need to stop. It’s messing up your brain.

Seriously, the pitiful folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are using McCartney in a new vegetarian campaign. McCartney will appear on PETA ads, baggy eyes and all, with a message about sticking to vegetables because, after once hooking a fish, he said, “I realized as I watched him fight for breath that his life was as important to him as mine is to me.” (How Sir Paul knew the fish was a “he” instead of a “she,” I don’t know.)

Along with longtime animal rights religionists Pamela Anderson, Forest Whitaker, Casey Affleck and Alicia Silverstone, Sir Paul will urge one and all to go vegetarian. But the truth be known, if you believe a fish’s life is as important as your own, don’t you think a radish, a head of lettuce or a potato also would like to continue living? Instead, you’re ready to rip it from its life-giving soil and devour it, you vegan versions of cannibals.

Sir Paul, I like vegetables as much as you do. The only difference is that I want a 24-ounce porterhouse steak — rare, please — alongside my veggies. As far as the fish are concerned, I don’t how you Brits react to us fishing and taking the fish off the hook to set them free. It’s called catch-and-release. But I suppose people who worship at the altar of animals don’t like that either.

Fly fishing show — The annual Fredericksburg Fly Fishing Show will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fredericksburg National Guard Armory. The show is sponsored by the Falmouth Flats Fly Fishers. This year’s headliners will be world-famous fly-fisherman, instructor and author Lefty Kreh and lecturer and author Beau Beasley, who will talk about freshwater fly-fishing in Virginia.

Also look for the conservation organizations that will be on hand, as well professional fly-fishing guides, tackle vendors and demonstrations. Admission is $5 and free for children younger than 12.

Smallmouth Club meets — Duncan McGrath of the Mountain State Anglers will be guest speaker at the Potomac River Smallmouth Club meeting March 26. McGrath will present a program of fly-fishing for smallmouths, muskies and trout in West Virginia’s New River Gorge, as well as fishing the Potomac above Little Falls. The meeting will be at the Vienna fire station on Center Road at 7:30 p.m. Information: [email protected]

Hiking expert visits — Peter Potterfield, celebrated hiking expert and author of “Classic Hikes of the World,” will present a program about his favorite New Zealand hikes at REI in Fairfax on March 27 at 7 p.m. Attendees are eligible to win prizes from ExOfficio and Eagle Creek and an all-expense-paid trip to New Zealand. Information: 571/522-6568.

Boating courses in Bowie — Take advantage of services the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has to offer. A nautical chart-reading course for beginning and veteran sailors alike begins March 31 at Bowie High School at 7 p.m.

The class consists of two Monday and Wednesday sessions from 7 to 9 p.m. That is followed by a basic and advanced 17-week coastal navigation course from 7 to 9 p.m. beginning April 7, also at Bowie High.

You will learn nautical chart and marine compass reading, plotting, dead reckoning, tides and currents, electronic navigation and voyage planning. Information: e-mail [email protected] or call Thornell Jones at 301/332-1864.

c Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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