Crime & the fishing community

I spent part of today sitting in the car waiting for my wife to pick up a few things from the local Dollar General store. That’s not all that exciting but it did give me a chance to think about some things that have happened recently that are bothering me. I’m referring to crime and how it impacts the fishing community.

A little over a week ago one of our Open anglers, Jimmy Johnson, was shot in a motel parking lot before the tournament started. We don’t know all the details but we sure know one thing — he didn’t deserve to die. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. By all accounts, he was a good man who just wanted to go fishing.

And, just the other day, my son’s boat and some of our tackle disappeared from where it was tied at the dock. That boat was one of his prized possessions. He was crushed, and for good reason. Something he worked for and took pride in owning was gone.

Now, nothing I say in this column is meant to compare the two crimes. That would be ridiculous. A boat can be replaced. A life cannot be replaced.

Still, these two things have started me thinking about the world we live in and how we can, and should, protect ourselves. It’s easy to get complacent. Most of us live in respectable neighborhoods and the people we hang out with aren’t the type who will steal our things or shoot us.

There was a time when that was enough. But that was then. This is now.

The truth is we all need to be careful and keep our heads up. We need to check out the places we’re staying and, even if they have the best of reputations, we need to be careful. We need to keep our stuff out of sight as well as under lock and key. Crime can happen anywhere and anytime. Just because we’re anglers, and mostly good guys, doesn’t mean we’re safe.

Most of what we have — boats, motors, tackle and electronics — can be easily stolen and resold or fenced in a matter of hours. Our problem isn’t anglers or guys who want something to go fishing with. It’s the criminal element that wants to make a quick buck and doesn’t give a hoot about the damage they cause. The fishing part of it is just there. If something, anything, can be stolen, they’ll steal it.

I don’t want this to sound all negative. We all know of stories about people who do the right thing. In fact, that’s a description of most people. Nevertheless, we need to be careful. A small number of people can do a lot of damage.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest I’d like to encourage everyone to go out and catch some fish before it gets really cold.

Next week, we'll talk about Cal's football team.

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on You can also find him on and or visit his website,

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