Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

F-F-F: The reason we fish

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Judge Bob Hamilton with the first bass he has caught in nearly 50 years. You can bet he had fun.

I wonder how many times I have been fishing in my life. Just a guess and probably a conservative one; I guess over 10,000 and probably quite a bit over that. I have been a member of F-F-F for many years.

Why? Why go fishing that much?

Well, not often, maybe never, because I needed the food.

Several times as a guide, hired to take others. Now and then in a tournament for money. But the bulk of those times, I fished for none of those reasons.

So why? Enter the three F's, the secret of fishing and a huge organization.

How do we measure our enjoyment of fishing? Far too often and for far too many times, it is measured by the number or size of the fish caught. We forget we are supposed to just enjoy our time on the water. With the exception of tournament fishermen or commercial fishing guides, the size or number of the catch, should matter little. Certainly, catching a lot of fish or catching big fish should add to the enjoyment of the day but too often, we forget the enjoyment of just being outside for the day. I have never heard a tournament fisherman say, "I did not get a bite today but boy, it was a great day."

More often, it is, "Did not get a bite. It was a lousy day." All he did, that guy, in my opinion, was go to work.

That is not to say tournaments are bad. For those who like competitive fishing they are great.

They provide income . . . sometimes and disperse a lot of information about fishing. However, for the average angler, fishing should not be competitive. It should be relaxing, stress free. That's the way it is for me. I have fished a few tournaments, won a couple and I have done my share of guiding. I much prefer fishing just to enjoy fishing. But make no mistake. I also eat a lot of the fish I catch. And I sure enjoy that. Just two weeks ago, my partner and I enjoyed a great day on the water and I put two vacuum bags of prime crappie fillets in the freezer. One will be eaten tonight.

Then, another pitfall is a smattering of equipment envy.

The bank fisherman says, "I wish I had a boat."

The jon-boat angler says, "I wish I had a big bass boat." You get the idea.

Always worried about what the other guy has, envies his "advantage". That tends to reduce the enjoyment of fishing.

But some of the most enjoyable days I have ever had fishing, were days when I waded a creek or bayou and fished from the bank. Even the early days with a cane pole were some great days. I have had some absolutely outstanding days in a jon-boat.

How about the species or particular type of equipment hypocrisy? The bass fisherman looks down on the catfish angler and he in turn looks down on the carp fisherman.

The purist in the $300 waders, whipping the dry fly in front of a trout, looks with disdain upon the angler using a spinning rod. Perhaps they forget why any of them are fishing.

Or at least, why they should be fishing.

When the angler idles back to the dock after a day casting at likely looking spots, why should it matter that the guy in front of him has a limit of bass weighing well over 20 pounds?

What difference does it make that he is either a better fisherman, has better electronics or knows something you don't? Does it bother you that he may make $50,000 a year more than you and can afford a $75,000, deep breather? It shouldn't.

The only thing that should matter is that we enjoyed ourselves. Our only goal in fishing is enjoyment of the day.

We were free to go when we wanted and quit when we wanted. We were under no contract to go or stay.

The only thing that should govern our fishing, except for the tournament guys or the guides, is the three F's. Absolutely no other reason to go.

The number or size or species of fish we catch or even if we don't catch any should not matter. Only F-F-F. Keep that in mind.


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