Fish still have the edge over us

Enjoy your fishing experiences and pass them on to novices, but anglers should remember not to crowd other anglers who are experiencing a good day on the water.

Usually, fish are an angler’s main opponent (if you disregard sweltering temperatures, nuisance insects and other elemental encumbrances such as thunderstorms, lightning and angry wives).

These nuisances can be overcome to focus on the true rival, the fish, even though anglers never are going to have the home-court advantage.

Our piscatorial denizens are fully aware of their surroundings and of the enemies below and above the surface — at least most of the time.

Our finny friends occasionally let their guards down, allowing anglers to swindle them into striking a passing lure and end up on the dinner table. Sometimes a pelican, gull or osprey makes a lucky dive.

Fishing is a sport and a game, but only for the anglers. For the fish, it’s a lot more serious than that. But even though anglers can be challenged during by their quarry and the elements, it shouldn’t be a matter of life and death (in most instances).

Building a solid game plan will determine the level of success for most anglers. And modern two-legged fishers have the best tools and tactics available. For instance, we don’t have to try to cast with a stiff bamboo pole a piece of yarn line with a feather and hook in it, as did good ol’ Izaak Walton 400 years ago.

Fishing has come a long way, baby.

Sporting-goods manufacturing companies are closing the gap every year between fish and angler. Available tackle is extremely innovative, providing anglers with a much-needed edge.

The tackle business throughout the world has become a multi-million-dollar enterprise relying on a basic premise — produce and market equipment that will outsmart fish.

Lure-manufacturing companies produce chemically- and physically-enhanced products that mimic prey scents and motions with perfection to trigger strikes. And the touch and feel of some new lures are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Line manufacturers have created unbelievably strong and almost invisible fishing line to pull lures through the water.

Outdoors writers and university scholars have written thousands of pages of informative material to aid anglers seeking to close the gap between fishing and catching.

Rods, reels, specialized boats and other equipment serve the needs of anglers. There are more tools on the market today to overcome our opponent, the fish, than at any other time in history.

So, to many, the perception is anglers hold a definite edge over fish. However, as many fish end up at our dinner tables, more times than not, they find a way to swim away and challenge us another day.

In today’s world, the angler has an added challenge to overcome — other anglers. Out of all of the rivers, ponds, lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water, there never seems to be enough room to the person sitting right next to you along the bank or across the water in another boat.

The world’s chockful of fish and wildlife, but it seems someone else usually manages to crowd within casting distance of our favorite spots much too often.

These anglers — perhaps out of a lack of innate skill, ignorance, laziness or simply desire to catch a fish — seek out successful fishermen and try their best to take advantage of “being there.” Actually, there’s nothing wrong with fishing within the same area as someone else, but some people don’t understand a thing about comfort zones when it comes to fishing.

Just as with anything in life, a few bad apples can spoil the barrel.

Thankfully, most anglers are courteous and provide enough clearance to prevent overcrowding. In fact, most anglers will offer advice to passing novices to help jump start their angling experiences.

During any given day, fish usually prefer one tactic or lure to another and the passage of that kind of knowledge is usually appreciated. True anglers know fishing should be enjoyed by all and don’t mind seeing others become successful.

In order to become a better, more successful angler, having depth in one’s playbook — and knowing how to execute the play — usually determines rewards, especially when the fish are experiencing lockjaw.

Unfortunately, anglers are being forced to write additional chapters in their playbooks to learn defensive tactics, particularly when it comes to discouraging novice anglers from stopping and trying to sample the fishing luck cheek-to-cheek and gunwale-to-gunwale.

Some anglers will fight a fish with a large portion of the rod in the water and quickly toss the fish into the boat, trying not to advertise their catch.

Sometimes they’ll lie down in a boat to conceal their presence within marsh grass (and give away hot creeks).

Luckily, most anglers are well mannered and respectful in South Carolina. The state’s coastal waters are extensive and allow a multitude of fishing locations. Angers can spread out and find similar good locations to fish.

But in a crowded situation anglers should respect one another and not overcrowd fishing spots. It’s hard enough enticing fish to bite most of the time.

We should remember sportsmen are on the same team and should work together to keep fish and the elements as our only opponents.

About Jeff Burleson 1312 Articles
Jeff Burleson is a native of Lumberton, N.C., who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife sciences and is a certified biologist and professional forester for Southern Palmetto Environmental Consulting.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply