Inevitably as more crowds emerge, more problems will as well. In short order we will start to hear more complaining about a certain person or kayak or power boat in “my spot”. The talk of “meet me at the ramp” will bluster up and someone will get hurt. Sometimes the cops are called, sometimes not. One of these times it will escalate and someone may well lose a life, maybe not intentionally but it will happen. Someone will slip when pushed, hit their head and the lights will fade out. A family will be in mourning because of a dust up over “rights” to be somewhere or do something involving fishing.
This year needs to be different. This year we need more fishermen to hit the pause button. While the pause button is a metaphor for self control, it works in practical application. The fact of the matter is, when we get upset we need to step back and hit pause. Especially when we are fishing. Look at this rationally right now as you sit at a computer reading this. Do you fish to provide your family’s only food source? Most of us will answer no. Do you fish in a tournament to provide electricity and shelter to your family? Most of us will answer no. Will the fish in this “spot” have a tattoo of your name along their lateral line saying they belong to you? No. They won’t.
Will your world change if you can’t fish that spot right now? No, it won’t.
Yet, a lot of people act like it will. I’ve been guilty of the grousing that comes with finding someone already located where you want to fish. It’s disappointing. Is it worth a life? No. Most folks won’t evaluate it that way. What’s a little yelling? Maybe a little pushing? The fact of the matter is, you don’t know what the other guy will do. You don’t know what you will do if the adrenaline gets going. Don’t let it get up. Be a bigger man and understand: IT’S JUST FISHING.
No one should have to pay fines, go to jail, get seriously hurt or die because you WANT to fish a spot. It won’t always be the other guy who gets in trouble. We have to be more like men and less like school yard kids. Hit the pause button and think about what you are upset about.
Some may say this is not an issue. I’ve personally witnessed three fights in the last two years. It never ends well. It also doesn’t speak well to the sport we all love so much. Refined sportsmen react with patience and are slow to act on anger. Take a deep breath and paddle on. We need more sharing and less flaring to truly make others feel welcomed.
Share some time on the water with friends this week if the weather cooperates in your area and enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. Enjoy the brushstrokes of purple and orange as you watch a sunset from your kayak. Hit the pause button and soak it all in. And remember, keep that remote handy in case you have to hit the pause button again when someone else catches a fish in your spot. Instead of wanting to slap them, slap them a high five and share in their success. Stay level and have fun. That’s why we do it, right? To have fun.