We have met the enemy, and he is us

This article was published in the New York B.A.S.S. Nation newsletter by Paul Hudson, secretary of the Good Ole Boys Bass Club of New York.

“We have met the enemy, and he is us” is a famous line from the comic strip “Pogo." Pogo was the title character of a daily American comic strip and was featured in many papers. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp of the southeastern United States, the strip often engaged in satire through the adventures of its funny animal characters.

You might ask yourself, how does this apply to us in bass fishing clubs? The answer is quite simple if you look at how the public sometimes perceives “us” on any fishing tournament day. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy — from the time we launch to the time we leave the boat launch parking area for home later on in the day.

Imagine you are a homeowner on a lake near a public launch site. You’re nestled in your bed; the sun is beginning to come up. You hear some activity at the launch, but that is normal because boating and fishing season is underway. All of a sudden, you hear someone yelling about a person being late for blastoff, and along with the yelling, several “colorful words” are thrown in to get the point across. A chorus of loud voices is then heard heckling the late arrival.

We have met the enemy and …

That same homeowner, who was awakened, along with the rest of the family, gets out of bed to see what the ruckus is all about. His view is of an unorganized blastoff of boats, as one tries to overtake a slower boat by going between a dock and raft at a high speed.

We have met the enemy and …

The tournament is finished! The boats have been removed from the water and the weigh-in begins. The fish are placed back in the lake water after being weighed, and a few of them are looking a little sluggish. Do you take the time to stay there to make sure they swim away on their own, or do you just shrug your shoulders and think to yourself they’ll be OK? As you walk away, those fish that were struggling are now dead and floating. Other boaters come to the launch; they see those dead fish.

We have met the enemy and …

After the tournament is over and you are beginning to leave, has your club picked up the parking area of all the loose fishing line, cups and papers that are lying about?  The vegetation that might have fallen off the boat or trailer and is now lying in a heap in the weigh-in area, is that removed? Or, have you left it there hoping someone else will pick it up?

We have met the enemy and …

I will grant you that sometimes no matter what we do around a launch site, we may never keep that property owner happy. However, by being proactive in what we do and how we do it, thoughtfulness can go a long way in how the public perceives us. Remember, we not only represent our bass club and other sportsmen, but also all those companies whose logos and decals we have attached to our boats and vehicles. 

So if we try to do the following:

  • Keep the noise to a minimum during our launch and retrieval;
  • Eliminate the colorful language during launch, retrieval and weigh-in;
  • Take care of our catch and disposing of any dead fish the correct way;
  • Pick up after ourselves just before we leave the tournament site,

 We can safely say, “we know who the enemy is, and he isn’t us”.