Fishing is Fun
By Doug Yeargain
I had the opportunity to film a television show with Jerry Dean. We were fishing the Devils River arm of Lake Amistad. We had a lot of fun and even caught a few bass.
While we were fishing, we talked about the way a lot of folks are so hung up on the big bass syndrome. You know what I'm talking about. It seems that every conversation in the bass fishing world revolves around, "Did you catch any big ones?"
What has happened to the fun of fishing? The "big bass syndrome" can discourage newcomers to the sport if they think that only the big ones are worth catching.
Light tackle, a small lure and just catching fish is fun. I am guilty of the big bass syndrome too. When my boys were young, we would go fishing and all I wanted to do was catch that big one. It ruined many a day on water for my boys when they were young and just starting out. They just wanted to catch something, anything. So instead of fishing around the shoreline with a small bait and catching anything that came along, I found myself fishing deeper water with worms - or another tactic not easy for youngsters to learn and enjoy in the beginning.
It is the youngsters and newcomers that we need to bring into fishing to preserve the future of the sport. If they spend hours on end bored out of their minds in the hot sun not catching anything, it's easy to see why they wouldn't enjoy it.
If most of you are like me, you probably started out fishing very young in farm ponds or rivers casting little H&H spinnerbaits or chuggers. I can still remember those trips. It was fun. It didn't matter if I caught a 10-inch bass or a perch. It was just plain old fun. Walkng around the shoreline, waiting for the cows to quit drinking, and sometimes being chased off from the local bull. It was still fun. I was "catching" fish.
But nowadays we have all the latest and greatest equipment, and zoom around searching for "the big one." But are we really enjoying it as much as before? Jerry made me think about that the day we filmed an episode of Honey Hole TV Magazine together. I enjoy catching a big bass as much as anyone. But from now on, I'm not going to go out and only think about the big ones.
As a matter of fact, my wife Melanie and I went out fishing after that day and we fished for white bass. We had a lot of fun, caught a lot of fish and just relaxed. It was the first time I had actually relaxed while fishing in a long time. I know this made it more enjoyable for her because we caught fish. It didn't matter that they were small or what type they were.
I have known a lot of fishermen over the years that only think about one thing, catching that big old hawg, and I also know that they are not always enjoying the trip - especially when they fail to land the big one. If we truly want to ensure the future of this great sport we need to get back on track and start enjoying it. Take out a youngster, a co-worker, anyone who wants to try their hand at fishing. Don't go out and teach them that catching a big one is the key to a successful trip. I guess that over the years bass fishing "society" has led us to believe this. When you see a picture of a big-time pro holding a monster fish, it makes you think of the same thing. When you watch most fishing shows, you see only big bass. That is the reason so many people enjoy and respect Honey Hole TV Magazine. It is a day on the water. If you catch a big one fine, if not fine. What they catch is what you see and they have fun.
When Jerry, Dirk, and myself headed out to film that day, that's all I wanted to do - catch a big one for the show. But then Jerry and I started talking about this subject and I started thinking that if it didn't matter to him if we landed a monster, then why was I worrying about it. Like Jerry said, it was a beautiful day, 75 degrees and we were catching fish. There are thousands of other folks at work wishing they were fishing. There are a lot of fishermen up north sitting in theirs houses when there's snow on the ground and lakes are iced over, wishing they could just go fishing.
The point I'm trying to make is, it's not that important to catch a trophy bass every time you go out. Instead of using that broom stick rod and super-line try using lighter tackle you probably have stashed away. You might surprise yourself and catch more big fish with lighter tackle. Just set your drag a little looser. Remember you're not at work, so smile a little. And take someone else with you who could enjoy smiling some too.
Put the fun back into fishing. Slow down and enjoy the surroundings. Try to remember why you started fishing in the first place.