Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
November 28, 2012

Andy Whitcomb

High 5

When you take someone fishing, there are many advantages.   Not only is there the added benefit of safety (you can watch each other’s backs!), but there is also an assistant for the tricky landing of that big fish.

The line and knot have to hold, the net deployed skillfully, and the fish has to cooperate.  Then, two anglers suddenly are going to share a moment, hopefully of jubilation.  But how?

A handshake is too formal.

Head butts or chest bumps should be avoided to keep one or both anglers from falling in the water.

On an episode of Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, Bassmaster Elite angler Kelly Jordan broke a rod, and lost a bass so large that he and Mark Zona were forced to “hug it out.”

The single “fist bump” has become acceptable, as long as it isn’t extended with fist opening and the little explosion sound.

A stinging hand slap of a “high 5” is a quick, effective vehicle to express gratitude and mutual respect.

But my favorite, I learned 15 years ago in Hawaii from my angling neighbor: “The Fisherman’s Handshake.” Hands cross and slap each other’s forearm like the tail of a fish.   Judging by the fishing shows, it doesn’t seem to have caught on. Yet.


Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at

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Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”. One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”... To the point it could be classified as borderline illness. Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie." Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up. Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US. He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well... And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.                                                                                Find out about the rest of Take Me Fishing Blog Authors.

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