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Three Men in a Boat Chapter 17 Summary

Stay at Streatley and its popularity as a fishing area. The author’s story of his lack of success at fishing and stories of other successful fishermen. George takes a tumble in an inn at Streatley.

The author and his friends stayed at Streatley for two days and got their clothes washed. They had tried to wash their clothes in the river earlier, but it seemed as though all the dirt of the river had collected onto their clothes instead.

The author shared that the area around Streatley and Goring was known to be a fishing centre. The river was supposed to be full of pikes, eels, gudgeons and other fish and people could sit and fish all day long. However, the author felt that actually catching any fish was a different matter altogether.

He had once tried fishing, but the experienced fishers had told him that he didn’t have enough imagination to be successful at it. According to them, a successful angler is one who can not only make up good stories, but can add incidental detail to it, to make it appear authentic. Not only would he spin out a fine tale about the actual process of fishing, but would add details of what they said at home, and so on.

The author once knew a fellow who took to fly-fishing and decided never to exaggerate his stories by more than twenty-five per cent, as it was sinful to lie. Within a few months he revised his strategy and decided to exaggerate by doubling, but even this was not satisfactory. He finally decided to count each fish as ten, and had been going along very happily, ever since.

In fact, the author advises one to take the opportunity to drop in at one of the little village inns and listen to the fishy stories the anglers always share. On their second evening at Streatley, George and the author went into a little inn, and saw a large trout framed in a glass case above the chimney. One by one, four different men came into the inn, and each one claimed to have caught the trout.

Finally the inn keeper himself came and told the two friends his version of the story. Fascinated by the fish, George climbed onto a chair to get a better view, slipped and crashed down along with the trout case. It shattered into thousands of pieces, for the trout was made of plaster-of-Paris.