Raccoon tans are unavoidable, and have an upside
Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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Raccoon tans are unavoidable, and have an upside

The other day, after I took off my fishing glasses, Jenn looked at me funny and asked if I had secretly gotten a job at McDonald’s portraying the Hamburgler.

“I wish,” I replied. “No, what you are looking at is a classic angler’s raccoon tan line.”

It has actually been a few years since I have donned a raccoon tan, so her mistake was forgivable. For those of you who do not have an angler in the family, allow me to explain.

An angler’s raccoon tan is that lighter band around the eyes that occurs when someone spends too much time on the water wearing polarized fishing glasses. It is similar to the tan a person might get if they were placed blindfolded in front of an indecisive firing squad in a tropical country, but probably a lot less worrisome.

Here’s a pro tip. If you wear a ball cap, as most anglers do, the lighter patchwill extend up the forehead, giving the angler’s head a unique two-toned appearance that’s a real attention-getter.

Aside from complementing the trucker arm tanline that most anglers also get, the raccoon tan serves one other essential purpose. It allows anglers to instantly identify fellow anglers in a crowd. This is more important than you might think.

For instance, imagine you, as an angler, somehow got roped into a fancy soiree where it is frowned upon to show photos of fish you caught or talk about your favourite lure. At gatherings like this, it would be very easy to get trapped in a conversation in which people are intent on discussing social issues, morality, economics, art, entertainment, the pressing news items of the day or even “literature” that doesn’t necessarily include cartoon drawings.

Yet, if you keep your wits about you and scan the room for another person with a raccoon tan, you will soon be discussing the truly important things, such as whether or not the bass are taking black or pumpkin-seed rubber tube baits.

But that’s not all. A person with a racoon tan will almost certainly be conversant in the expiration dates of most major brands of fish attractants, the best places to get dew worms and leeches, which lens makes your fish look bigger on social media, and other things that are actually useful in day-to-day life.

In other words, once you find that – and I don’t think soul mate is too strong a word – at an event like this, time will go by so much quicker – and by the time the event is over, you might have learned about new fishing spots or better ways to exaggerate. In which case, you’ll leave the event thinking it was not a complete waste of time.

But there are disadvantages in having a raccoon tan, too. For instance, if a burglar is breaking into houses in the area, the people with the raccoon tans are always the first suspects – which is hardly fair. And, I won’t lie, I’ve had neighbours look at me funny the morning after their garbage got knocked over by actual raccoons.

Also, raccoons might consider your tan cultural appropriation. Never forget that.

There’s noting you can do about this anyway. If you fish a lot and wear polarized glasses, you will get a raccoon tan. On the upside, at least other anglers will see you are earning your stripes.

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won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

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