Published in the February, 1994, GOFC Newsletter
Let's face facts. Most of us would have pursued a career in football, baseball, basketball or some other high-dollar sport if we thought we had the makings of a professional athlete. We did not for whatever reason, and our names will never rest in a pro sports hall of fame. This leads us back to the real world and to fishing -- the greatest sport ever invented. Why? We all have our individual reasons, but the biggest, perhaps, is that anyone can do it. Some of buy us the big, expensive toys and place ourselves into debt forever just to catch the next fish. Others must be content to stand shore-bound and hook whatever comes along. The important part is that we fish.
On a weekend trip to Cedar Key recently I took fifteen thousand dollars worth of fishing gear out about twenty miles from shore only to catch four junk fish on a rock pile that should have held grouper. For whatever reason they were not there, and I came home empty-handed (which, unfortunately, is not all that uncommon lately). On the way back in I found that the trout were not in their usual holes either, so the day was one of those where we convince ourselves that we do this just to be "away from it all." When I got back to the hill, there were three young ladies there waiting to put their boat on the trailer. Now this was a jonboat with no frills -- no fancy gear and no nice anything. They all looked at my boat, and I heard one of them say some sort of respectable type comment which fed my ego. So being the friendly, and nosy, sort I asked how their day had been. Not too many," one replied. I instantly felt relieved that I had not been the only one who had a tough time finding some finny critters.
One of the other ladies said, "Yeah, only three keeper redfish and these here nice trout." I looked down to see eight or ten seatrout in the two to three pound range sitting next to their limit of redfish. I nodded respectfully at their catch and continued on my way. There is not one of us that has not had days like theirs and days like mine. I tried not to let my jealousy shroud my good mood. I merely kept reminding myself what a beautiful day it had been on the water, what a good friend I had with me, and that was all that really mattered. We had fun.
Remembering why we are here. It is something we all must do now and then. The joy on the faces of children catching their first fish or their next several hundred. The natural beauty surrounding our favorite fishing holes, the cascade of colors as the sun rises and sets, and the enjoyment of our fishing buddies and the lies we all tell. These are the reasons we go fishing.
Recognition is nice, but if you are here only to win trophies and plaques you may be here for the wrong reasons. Having a secret spot is fine, but if you would rather let your best friend sleep with your spouse than tell where you caught those grouper or redfish, you may be here for the wrong reasons.
The next time you go fishing, try taking someone who isn't as lucky. We all know people like that -- a child, a neighbor, or maybe a co-worker. I did so recently and will never regret it. Share the good fortune that you had when someone introduced you to the sport. If we all band together, share the wealth and promote angling, we may be able to make the sport fishing industry what it was in years past. With so many issues on the political chopping block today we need all of the help and support we can muster.
Return to Interesting Articles Page
Return to Main GOFC Menu
This page last updated 3 November, 1996
Charles H. Courtney (firstname.lastname@example.org)