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Fly Fishing the Mushroom Kingdom

The year was 1990, and I can remember it like it was yesterday.  I took my first trip to this exotic destination. Even at the age of 6 I’d been to plenty of far off locales. In fact, I’d been only a stone’s throw from the area in question numerous times. But this was like a whole new world. It was bigger, wilder, and more diverse than anywhere I had ever been.

I have been back over and over again numerous times in the nearly 30 years that have passed. Like any place that has a profound impact on you, I’ve felt compelled to return. Just this year, I’ve been able to take my boys. It isn’t as flashy as some of the things they’ve seen in their young lives. Still, they’re captivated. Admittedly, not as much as I was that first time.

Because it was the Mushroom Kingdom, and it was up to me to save the princess (again).

Mario, Luigi, goombas, Bowser, mushrooms, and the rest matter. These are the literal stars of the show. Much ink has been spilled on warp whistles and coin caches. But there is another aspect of the Mario Brother’s 3rd (I know…) outing that hasn’t received the attention it deserves:

The fly fishing.

Here is an introduction to fly fishing the Mushroom Kingdom. The species, the patterns,  the locations, and some other considerations. *Spoiler Alert* The princess always ends up being in another castle. So you might as well wet a line on your way to rescue her.

Species

Cheep Cheep: You’ll come across three main varieties of the Cheep Cheep. The green ones are pretty easy to fool. you’ve just got to put something in front of them and they’ll essentially swim right into it. The red strain is a wild card. They’re incredibly fast and unpredictable. Once you hook into them they’ll jump and jump and jump. It is a true test of an angler’s skill to keep them on, and also to avoid getting hit. There is a rare third subspecies: black with spines. Due to pipelines being built over their habitat, they’ve been forced into one small watershed.

Boss Bass: This species gets large, and has an appetite to match. Think about it this way – it can swallow a human whole. That gives you an idea of what kind of flies you’ll need to throw. One nice thing about the Boss Bass is that you don’t have to worry about fishing over their redds. The females, colloquially called Big Berthas, hold their young in their mouths. Of course, they can (and will) still eat you if you get too close.

Patterns

Raccoon Tail Nymph: Especially for the various Cheep Cheeps, having a number of these in your arsenal can be very handy. It is worth tying them with the raccoon tail, but if you can get your hands on Tanooki body dubbing, it really creates a lifelike appearance.

Spiny Helmet Sculpin: Throwing streamers is  how you get into the biggest fish. Putting a Spiny shell on the head of a traditional streamer gets you down to where the biggest Boss Bass hide. Try red or green, to imitate the garb of their favorite meals.

Locations

Water Land (World 3): This is an obvious choice. There is water everywhere, and you can’t move without a fish literally jumping out of the water at you. But like any other large body of water, you need to break it up into smaller spots… levels, even… to manage your time well.

The “Giant” Spot (Level 4-4): The land of giants is where you want to go if you are after the biggest fish in the Mushroom Kingdom. You can’t throw too heavy of a rod or use too much weight. Just watch out for the 10′ tall turtles.

Other Considerations

I’ll be honest. This is combat fishing. Everything is trying to kill you. You hardly have time to get rigged up before a fireball or a hammer or an angry sun is coming for you. And don’t even think about wading. Aside from the homicidal fish, there are Jelectro, Lava Lotus, and Bloobers aplenty.

Does it get old? Yes. But you’ve got to fish where the fish are. The best you can hope for is a few stars to allow for a brief period of peace and quiet. Although, some think the flashing strobe-effect keeps the fish away.

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