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The opening of the short is amusing, as it focuses on the relationship of the tides and the astrological chart to how the fish end up biting. Any good fisherman can tell you when the best time to fish is, and most likely, you’ll end up with different recommendations from each and every one. In the short, the narrator uses a cleverly drawn image of fish in the astrology chart to show that fish will bite in certain phases.
From there, we see Goofy lounging at home, until he falls prey to the same astrological phenomenon. It comes upon him like a flash, driving the Goof out of his seat and into full fishing mode. Again, I’ve seen this happen to family members, where hey get taken over by the urge to go fishing. It’s quite funny to see it portrayed through Goofy, though.
The scenes of Goofy trying to fish are exactly what you’d expect, but that doesn’t make them any less amusing. Goofy gets caught on his own line, scares the fish away by falling in the water and generally contradicts everything the narrator is telling him to do. It’s the genius of this series that it continues to work, despite the fact that viewers know exactly what to expect.
My favorite little bit is when Goofy uses a fly lure to drop in the water, and we get to see the view from the fish. The distended and murky view of Goofy trying to see the fish react is priceless, as is the laughter from the fish themselves.
By the time we reach the end, you’re rooting for Goofy to catch something, anything. And of course, he does just that, but not a fish. No, instead the line gets caught on the engine of his boat, and drags Goofy along the water for an endless procession of gags.
Is How To Fish formulaic? You bet. That does not make it less fun, though. It hits a ton of great notes and provides a humorous way to look at a hobby that many people enjoy. Plus, it’s Goofy. How can you go wrong?