We’re all subject to wishing that we could do something we can’t. In my case that would be spending more time fishing with other anglers, professional and recreational alike.
What a thrill it would be to get together with the other guys from Ohio and head down to Lake Seminole for some prefishing. We could travel together, split expenses and laugh all day in the boat as we chased our dream.
But we can’t do that. The realities of our sport are that we have to find individual patterns and individual spots. It isn’t an option to run around the lake in the same boat enjoying a day on the water. We aren’t in the sharing business.
Sometimes I wish we were.
It’s possible to travel in caravans so that if one guy has trouble we can help him. It’s also possible to stay in the same house or condo and share expenses and food. In fact, we do that sometimes. What we don’t do is spend the day together enjoying each other’s company catching bass.
The benefits of this would be more than psychological. Imagine how much we would all learn if we could share up-to-the-minute experiences, theories and ideas. Nearly every top angler on the planet will tell you that the best and most efficient way to get better as an angler is to fish with anglers who are better than you are, or who fish different techniques and approaches than you fish.
We talk around the dock in the evening, and occasionally while we’re having dinner, but it’s always in the back of our mind that what we’re giving away could mean the difference between a check or no check, or a Bassmaster Classic berth or no Bassmaster Classic berth.
Like I said, we aren’t in the sharing business.
Unfortunately, much of what I’m talking about applies to our relationships with recreational anglers, too. Sure, we can fish local lakes with old friends — I do it every Tuesday night during the summer when I’m in Columbus and I love every minute of it — but it isn’t likely to happen on one of the Great Lakes or somewhere the Elite Series competes. There’s too much risk, too much at stake.
To be fair, what I’m talking about isn’t always true, at least not down to the nitty-gritty. I fish Lake Erie with friends sometimes but there’s always that element of competition in the air. There are times I wish it wasn’t. It would be a lot of fun just to go fishing.
So, I say to all the guys out there who fish on the weekends with a family member, relative, friend or next door neighbor don’t despair that you aren’t a pro. It’s a worthy dream but, like everything in life, it has a cost. Be thankful for what you have.
Competition is wonderful. I’ve done it since I was a teenager. I’m not complaining so much as I’m longing for something I can’t have. In truth, there are times when I want my cake and I want to eat it, too.