Gone Fishin’ is one of my favorite comedies. All they ever wanted to do is just go fishin’!
Joe Waters (Pesci) and Gus Green (Glover) are bumbling yet happy best friends who live modestly in Newark, New Jersey and have known each other since childhood. They share the hobby of fishing and win a stay in the Florida Everglades to go angling, but promise to return home in time for Thanksgiving.
On the way, however, while stopping at a bar, they meet an Englishman, Martin (Brimble), who discreetly steals Joe’s car keys and leaves. Joe and Gus are forced to push their boat down the road until they are met by two women, Rita (Arquette) and Angie (Whitfield), who are after Martin and offer them a lift. During the ride, a bump causes the boat to disconnect from the car, leaving Joe and Gus stranded yet again, and the boat is accidentally hooked to a train and pulled away along with their beer and supplies. Joe and Gus hitch a ride with two men, but on the way, they see their car at a gas station and investigate. Joe goes to confront Martin inside the bathroom, but backs down when he catches Martin loading a gun. Joe and Gus flee the petrol station in their car, and discover a blood-stained knife in the dashboard.
Joe and Gus stay at a trailer park for the night, and while watching a documentary on television, they learn that Martin is actually Dekker Massey, a wanted criminal who has conned several women out of their riches and is implied to have stabbed his last victim to death and hidden her money and jewelry somewhere. The presenters offer a bounty for Dekker’s capture, and Joe and Gus decide to turn in the knife after their fishing trip. Meanwhile, Dekker begins hunting Joe and Gus down.
Following a recommendation by the trailer park owner, Joe and Gus visit Phil Beasly’s boatyard and rent a speedboat, but end up breaking almost every gadget on the boat, losing the knife and wrecking the boatyard by accident. Distraught, they decide to return home early, but end up with a flat tire. While getting the spare tire from the trunk, Joe discovers a map that leads to Dekker’s fortune. They book a room in a nearby hotel, and while having dinner, they are found by Rita and Angie, who question them about Dekker and reveal that they are after him because Rita’s mother was one of Dekker’s victims. Joe and Gus promise to bring Dekker to justice, but that night, Gus sleepwalks and starts a fire in the hotel, destroying their suite and the map. They only barely manage to escape undetected, though their car breaks down on the road and Joe is struck by lightning while they try to fix it. Instead of killing him, the lightning boosts Joe’s memory and he is able to lead the way to the cave where Dekker hid his fortune. Despite an altercation with an alligator, they retrieve the treasure and escape, but are accosted by Dekker. At gunpoint, Dekker forces them to push Joe’s car into the swamp and ties them up inside a sheriff’s office, intending to flee the country with the treasure.
After Dekker leaves, however, Joe and Gus are found and freed by their idol, Billy “Catch” Pool (Nelson), and they set out to stop Dekker. After a long chase across the swamp, Joe and Gus find and capture Dekker moments before his escape via plane and hand him over to the police. Though they claim the reward money, Joe and Gus are forced to spend it mostly on the damages they caused during their trip.
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