My rant about the competitive nature of fishing

I loaded my little Heritage kayak on the Ford Escape and headed for a tiny suburban pond on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. I had checked the stocking schedule and discovered the pond had recently been planted with 500 larger trout and I figured it was a perfect quick trip before the game. The pond was barely 5 acres but there were some areas difficult to fish from shore even with a spinning rod.

I pulled in the parking lot about 10 a.m. There were about five or six guys on the pond. Not ideal, but there certainly was room for the kayak on the far shore where I wouldn't crowd the bobber and spin guys. I put on wader, dropped in the kayak and started paddling toward the middle of the pond. I saw a guy throw a spinner towards a tree hanging in front of me and I knew my day was going to quickly end. It was cemented when he said "boats are not allowed on the pond."

I challenged him and said I had checked the regs and and signs and knew it wasn't the case. Of course, he wasn't going to listen to me and I decide I wasn't about to push the issue.

Instead, I paddled back to the shore, loaded my kayak on the Escape and decide to head somewhere else. I was frustrated with the situation because it exemplified an issue facing the fishing community.

Instead of a way to escape the hustle of life, some anglers were treating fishing as a competitive sport. Instead of sharing the space and being courteous, guys are yelling at one another about how they owned the water,  threatening each with fake gun gestures or casting their lines over one another. It was sad. Like most states, Oregon has seen the number of anglers continue to decline with fewer young people taking to the sport and the old guard dying off.

I cannot blame the younger generation. I have a son who would just as soon sit in front of a video screen as in a kayak. Considering the violent nature of today's video games, that is rather telling.

Of course not everyone is an asshole. I have met many wonderful people on the river and I have found most kayak anglers friendly and willing to share ideas. And, I am not above joking with a friend about his fishing skills on a particular day.

Outdoor activities were once an opportunity for generations to bond and enjoy the natural environment. Now fishing and hunting is often a competition for limited resources and some feel it is more important to harvest something than enjoy the experience.

I continue to encourage my son to join me on kayak trips or fly fishing some of my favorite water. And sometimes he does. But I am also very careful about the water I choose. We need to continue to teach our children the value of nature and the essence of life. They should understand that the package of fish or meat was once a living creature and it died so we could nourish our bodies. If we don't, the fishing community may face the same challenges as hunting community and people will be saying angling is cruel while they order the grilled salmon off the menu and wonder why it is so expensive.

OK. I feel better now.

Go Farther. Catch More.


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