Editor’s notebook: Fishing for the truth – CapitalGazette.com

NOTHING FISHY — In a more innocent time — 1889 — Jerome K. Jerome, in “Three Men in a Boat,” observed, “Some people are under the impression that all that is required to make a good fisherman is the ability to tell lies easily and without blushing; but this is a mistake. Mere bald fabrication is useless; the veriest tyro can manage that. It is in the circumstantial detail, the embellishing touches of probability, the general air of scrupulous — almost of pedantic — veracity, that the experienced angler is seen.”

Of course, all the embellishing touches in the world wouldn’t impress a lie detector. That might be why Philip G. Heasley of Naples, Florida, won’t be getting his more than $2.8 million in prize money for catching a 76.5-pound marlin in a fishing tournament last summer at Ocean City.

To be fair, Heasley says the two lie detector tests he flunked were rife with ambiguous and poorly targeted questions. Nonetheless, a federal district judge in Baltimore ruled this week that Heasley had violated the contest rules by not passing those mandatory exams.

Our guess is that Jerome, if we could have him back to ask, wouldn’t think that cross-examining anglers while they’re strapped to a machine does much for the tone of the pastime. But his main question might be why we do this for fishing tournaments but not politicians.