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Killed 'em - Not Really I Hope

Blog by: David Coulson , Colorado 3/2/2017
On Facebook there was a piece from Orvis about pet peeves.  The response were numerous, and I limited mine to one.  Of all the things in life to be concerned about, this one is minor, but it still irks me.

In a nutshell I find the use of a number of works to describe fishing techniques and success to be annoying at a minimum.  While I doubt any “real” harm comes from their use, I feel the picture they can and do paint isn’t what we want as sportsmen, especially if we’re conservation minded.

Number one on my list is “kill” and all its relatives, as in killed ‘em, knocked ‘em dead, slayed them . . .  You get the idea.  Along the same lines, it’s a killer fly or lure, it’s lethal. Now there are days when I actually kill them, as I kept fish for dinner.  But on my best days of fishing I rather hope that I didn’t literally kill them.  Nope, I hope all those fish I “killed” actually lived upon release to fight another day.  

I understand the connotation of “kill,” and recognize its meaning isn’t literal, but I feel there are a myriad of ways to speak to success or potential for success without the negative image I get from “kill”.  In terms of success how about phenomenal, fantastic, sensational, exceptional, incredible . . . and the list goes on.  A little time with a thesaurus will give you lots of ways to speak to your day’s success without using the terms the related to killing or death, especially if you’re releasing your catch.  If not, well then you really did kill ‘em.

Another negative phrase I hear a lot is “I’m going to put a hurt’n on ‘em.”  This one bothers me a couple ways.  With all the anti-fishing folks out there claiming fish feel pain, using terms that agree with that point of view doesn’t seem prudent to me.  More importantly, I don’t believe fish feel pain as we know it, but that doesn’t mean catching a fish might not cause it harm.  Personally, I don’t set out to “hurt” fish, so I don’t appreciate terms that suggest that’s what we’re doing.  There are a number of similar terms along this line, such as beating and smash ‘em that I feel are best avoided.

While “kill” and “hurt” related words are the most irksome to me, I also cringe at overused superlatives to describe success. At the top of my list these days is epic.  It’s rare for a day to go by without someone describing their outing as EPIC!!!!  I’m sure you had a great day on the water, but epic?  Or once-in-a-life time. Or . . .  Hey, I’m sure it was a great day, but common, a little realism please.

Needless to say, I could rant and rave about a book’s worth of terms, and I’ll grant I’m being more that a little bit sensitive here.  Still, the point remains, how you describe the way you fish is heard by others, anglers and non-anglers.  That’s the idea, right?  To let others know how great our experiences were.  Just keep in mind, that some terms can generate negative connotations, meanings that may portray our sport in a negative way, especially to non-anglers. 

Blog content © David Coulson
Blog Comments
anglerwannabe, CO   3/2/2017 12:44:02 PM
count me as a guilty member as I sometimes like to say slayfest
wickedfisha, CO   3/2/2017 1:11:12 PM
Guilty as ever
Matt, CO   3/2/2017 3:09:16 PM
Slaughtered it Dave!
skiman, CO   3/3/2017 6:40:57 AM
Dave, From this day forward, you will now be known as the "politically correct" angler!
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   3/3/2017 6:49:31 AM
I'll admit, this piece is a tad on the "silly" side, but it's been on my mind for some time. Fortunately, it'll be moved to the back, way back of my thoughts, as we've open water, the boats out of storage and I'm going fishing. Starting with a week on Arizona waters. Should give plenty of fodder for writing.
esoxrocks, CO   3/3/2017 7:58:29 AM
Ha, ha...I've thought that as well Dave. Kinda like the old George Carlin bit about the words used to describe baseball vs football..i.e., the words used do set-the-table for how the sport is perceived...
twhart, CO   3/3/2017 8:33:18 AM
Rip some lip???. I understand what you are saying and agree to some extent but there is just way too much PC crap going around these days.
David Coulson (Flyrodn), CO   3/3/2017 8:41:26 AM
No argument the being political correct is overboard at times. But sometimes being "in other's face" doesn't do sportsmen any good. I remember when it was fashionable to strap a deer/elk across the hood. I didn't do that, but making sure the hide/head were visible, OK. Today, it's rare to see that behavior. Not sure that's all bad. Just like, I've no problem with harvest, and do so, but I see no good in posting "stringers". One nice fish picture, makes the point without offending anyone.