Fishing: The Universal LanguageFishing: The Universal Language The common love of fishing between two men who would otherwise never meet can create a bond that lasts a lifetime.
As a young African-American on the Bass Tournament trail, I have experienced both good and bad, from all races. In this article I would like to touch the surface on this very sensitive subject. I am going to attempt to deliver a message, from my experiences.
I cannot speak about what it is like to be anyone else but me. Growing up in Gary, Indiana, I was not aware of the challenges that I would encounter as I attempted to pursue my goal to be a Full-time Professional Bass Fisherman. Although, I was raised not to look at anyone any differently because of the color of their skin, hair or that they spoke with an accent, I soon learned that everyone was not raised like I was.
Entering my first bass fishing tournament in Norcross, GA, about 8 years ago, I was in for a rude awakening. I was drawn with a gentleman who up front told me that he did not care for my kind, and he didn't talk to or associate with people who were not like him. My response was that of silence, for I was always taught that if I didn't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything. So I did just that.
After 3 hours of casting and winding, the dead silence was broken by this gentleman screaming for a net. My first impulse was to let the guy net his own damn fish. But as always, I remembered what Mom said, 2 wrongs doesn't make it right, so I quickly dropped my rod, grabbed the net, and landed his 5 pound Largemouth.
This ended the silent streak. He was so happy to have that fish in the boat that he started talking away.
In response to him bragging about the fact that he knew that there was a fish next to the log he had cast to, I asked him had he ever had the chance to get to know an African-American. After a 15 second pause he answered that he had never seen one in person until he was almost 25 years old, and no he had not had the chance. This was the exact moment I made a new friend which today, I am still friends with, and stay in touch with.
I have found that most anglers on the professional level are either good actors or are genuinely good guys. Unfortunately I have experienced a few bad tournaments with idiots out on the trail who I hope will one day learn this language. When God created the joys of life he made them for all kind, not any particular group of people. Fishing just like any other sport can, if allowed, break down barriers between different ethnic groups. And yes, there have been some instances where I wanted to just stand up and scream why? But, one thing I have learned is to never let them see you sweat, and to kill them with kindness. And guess what? It works.
When it all boils down, each man puts his pants on the same way as the next, one leg at a time. And when cut, we all bleed the same.
All I know is that if the Majority can accept Minorities in all of the sports, then so can anglers in the Bass Fishing industry. We are now into a new century, and we as a people have not learned to accept others for who they instead of their color or nationality.
Now this is not to accuse any one group of people, because, Blacks are just as guilty, as anyone else. Yes, I am African-American, and I take no sides because under the Lords' eyes we are all the same. And right is right, and wrong is wrong.
So in conclusion, I would like to say, on and off the water, love and treat each man as though it was you.
Grow your fishing skills and improve your angling effectiveness.
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