Layne’s Nightmare: A Fishy Story

A close-up routine for the people in your audience who’d rather be fishing.

The effect: Sixteen fish cards are dealt face down in a 4×4 grid and your helper is asked to choose a number from 1 to 4 so you can eliminate that fishing spot. Remove all the cards from the chosen column and row and show a few of the faces to display what trophy fish were not caught. 

Ask them to eliminate another fishing spot by choosing from the rows/columns that are left and remove those cards, again showing some of what wasn’t caught. 

Do this one more time and when the cards in that row and column have been taken up one card will remain face down — that’s where they’ll be casting their line.

Have them turn over the last card to find an old boot, their catch of the day!

Cool Features

  • Uses cards, but it’s not just another card trick.
  • No sleight-of-hand required! (Nothing against sleight-of-hand, of course!)
  • No gimmicks, so there’s nothing to break.
  • Easy pocket trick that’s quick to reset.
  • Cards are 2.5″ x 2.5″ and are made of 12pt 320gsm black-core matte card stock with a linen finish (which means they feel like playing cards).
  • Three extra cards included so your helper could choose a diver, bike frame, spare tire or the boot. Basically, anything except a world-class fish!
  • Cards are marked on the back. Why? Why not! Come up with a use for the marks or just ignore them — your call!
  • Use the technique with a stack of business cards, playing cards, poker chips, or whatever else you can find 16 of.

Fish card size compared to poker card.
More fish!

But wait, there’s more!

This actually first came to life as Addicted to Love, where the effect is discovering what someone’s hidden addiction is. We find out it’s not cat videos, manicures, or mimes, because when there’s only one card left we see they’re addicted to love! (And right there is where you’d press play on a device with that Robert Palmer song cued up.)

For some reason I thought the whole addiction theme was too odd, so I switched to the fish — only, every once in a while I use the Addicted to Love cards and people really like it!

So, I’m including both sets of cards — the technique is the same so you can just use whichever one feels right for the people you’re performing for.

Addicted to Love Cards

Just one more thing…

There are two options — DIY and DFY. If you want to Do It Yourself, buy the PDF version of the effect which include a Print Your Own Props section. Print the cards on your printer, add some glue and scissors and you’re ready to go.

But if you want the Done For You option, that’s available, too. You’ll get the professionally printed cards all ready to go.

In either case, you’ll get full instructions, access to both sets of cards (either printed yourself or shipped to you), and online tutorial videos that will walk you step-by-step through the whole thing!

DIY – Print Your Own Props

A link to the PDF file and tutorial videos will be emailed to you within 10 minutes. You’ll be set to Print Your Own Props or use 16 other items!


Get Layne’s Nightmare on PDF

DFY – All Cards Included

A link to the PDF instructions and tutorial videos will be emailed to you within 10 minutes. Your cards will be shipped within two business days.

$20 + shipping

Get Layne’s Nightmare