Guest Blog by: Eric Allee , Colorado 5/29/2017
I waited at least 3 minutes before I finally said something. The guy across the small pond I was fishing had just caught a decent bass. He’d kept taking selfies then checking his phone all while holding the fish out of water. Then after he finally got a selfie with the fish that was acceptable he decided it was time to admire the fish. Normally I do my best to bite my tongue but in this instance, I couldn’t help it. I said “is a picture worth killing that fish” …. I know any time you criticize someone they’re initial reaction is to lash out, and of course that’s exactly what happened.
He fires back with “mind your own business, since when has holding a fish out of water for a couple minutes killed a fish. Don’t worry bud I’ve caught more fish than you ever will”. I wasn’t shocked at the mind your own business part of his comment I knew something that that was coming when I decided to speak up, but weird self glossing about catching more fish than I ever will took me by surprise. He was still blabbing as my son and I walked back to the truck.
Watching this guy clearly care more about the photo than the fish just ate at me and still does. I’ve seen it more and more the past years and even tried to do a few how to videos on taking quick pictures while fishing alone. It isn’t rocket science, but one thing I’ve always relayed is you only get one maybe two shots then regardless how the picture looks that fish goes back. THE FISH’S HEALTH COMES FIRST not you framing a shot to get the perfect angle for your social media pages. If the picture doesn’t come out, guess what you have a shot at catching that fish again if she’s promptly released, but after 5 minutes out of the water chances of running into that fish anywhere but floating belly up are slim to none.
To Ansel Adams who’s caught more fish than I ever will: I hope that’s a true statement as I love it when folks are out on the water catching fish and having fun. In the future please treat those fish with more respect than you did today. Although you may have caught more fish than me I’ve been fishing those ponds since they opened and there’s a pretty good chance in that little pond that the fish you caught today was once gently released by me or one of my close friends.
Have any of you guys been in a similar situation where you couldn’t bite your tongue?
Fishing has been a passion of mine ever since I can remember. I’ve committed myself to helping others not only catch more and bigger fish, but also enjoy themselves more while doing so.
Goosehunter82, CO 5/29/2017 10:10:05 PM
This day in age I think it's always best to bite your toung. That same fish that's you asked about it being worth killing for a picture isint worth your or your child's life. People out there are crazy. I tend to agree with the guy. Mind your own business.
FISHRANGLER, CO 5/30/2017 8:57:08 AM
I have and I felt like a ass for not minding my own business.
Luke the Dog, CO 5/30/2017 10:15:29 AM
"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing."
esoxrocks, CO 5/30/2017 11:12:20 AM
I don’t know…bass are pretty hearty, so it was probably ok being out of the water longer than most fish, but I also understand the annoyance at someone “over celebrating” catching a fish to the point of being dangerous to the fish. It’s especially aggravating when we all know that the extended admiration was probably so everyone fishing that little pond knew just what an expert he-man fishermen he was. Fishing is a nice pastime, and I do enjoy catching fish and even taking a pic now and then, but frankly I’m usually more interested in not advertising where I catch my fish, than I am in showing off.
Ajax5240, CO 5/30/2017 11:56:33 AM
I'm out on the water to relax and enjoy myself. I tend to be with the guys above and would have kept to myself. Pretty much anything that doesn't put myself and the people in my party at risk of injury, I let karma sort out.
Flyrodn, CO 5/30/2017 4:51:06 PM
Only every day it seems like. Commented just Saturday about an angler slipping in behind me on a small pond. Too close, but I moved on after he offered. I do believe we need to speak up and yes I am the fool on occasion, Speaking might not change things, but if we don't, rest assured nothing will. The only change I've made has been to be as friendly as possible in my approach.
Abel1, CO 5/30/2017 6:36:11 PM
I have to agree with the above in this case. Saying something probably ruined your day and his. What if he kept the fish?
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO 5/30/2017 6:57:12 PM
Abel: I should have specified that in the story. The rules which are posted all over this particular body of water include catch and release for all bass. I wouldn't have said anything if he decided to keep the fish and it wasn't against the rules.
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO 5/30/2017 7:05:02 PM
Isn't a shared resource our business? Where do we draw the line. I'm not saying I didn't second guess my choice to speak up after I left, but at what point is someone clearly doing something to harm something we all share our business? About a decade ago on the dream stream I kept my mouth shut when a well known fly angler and his buddies did the same thing with a brown trout for a cover shot. I was mad at myself the entire drive home for not saying anything as they slipped the fish back in the water to watch it struggle to right itself in the current as they were hooting and hollering in celebration. Some people don't care about the resource and it bugs the hell out of me. It bugs me even more if they obviously know better but their more concerned with a picture than caring about what we all share. Like I said if Ansel decided to keep the fish and it was within the rules I would have never said a thing.
Luke the Dog, CO 5/31/2017 1:42:32 PM
^^^Ha, were his initials L.M. by any chance?
Ajax5240, CO 5/31/2017 2:46:45 PM
It's not that we dont dislike seeing someone mistreat a fish. It's that I would prefer not to ruin my peaceful day of fishing by getting into an argument with someone else. Were you really hoping he was going to respond "sorry man, I didn't realize a fish can not breathe out of water, I'll be quicker about it next time. Thanks for letting me know".... It's just not worth the aggravation and drama to me.
FishSeal, CO 5/31/2017 3:10:46 PM
In this day and age, there is room for instruction, but if they don't receive it, then I call in law enforcement. However, you have to be discerning whether it warrants the contact in the first place. The feelings to protect the resource like that is stewardship. Even though the property is a shared resource, being a steward is taking care of it and helping it. As mentioned, the method of approach is important. Thanks for posting a great topic. FS
Salmon Slayer, CO 5/31/2017 4:48:22 PM
The Law of Unintended consequences fits here. Sometimes "the best laid plans..." blow up because we don't know the problems or issues heating up in other's lives. A divorce, lost job, health issues, etc., have bit us all in the butt. After some distance and reflection, I wouldn't be surprised if the situation were viewed in a more benign way.
On another note, I'm not getting the Ansel Adams' vibe. Perhaps a different persona works better. Adam's son, Michael, revealed in his book, "Ansel Adams: A Son's Perspective," that his dad "wasn't a fisherman, he wasn't a hunter, he didn't do a lot of physical activities other than hiking." Just my 2c.
shiverfix, CO 5/31/2017 5:22:50 PM
I've been a mentor, both as a photographer and a coach. I've learned two things. First, if someone doesn't want to hear constructive criticism then it is pointless. Second, how someone takes constructive criticism is almost entirely dependent on how it is delivered. Maybe next time approach it differently. "Nice fish! Did you get it on xxxx? Hey, something I've learned is that after two minutes (one minute, 30 seconds, whatever the time is) the stress on the fish increases exponentially, and the chance of survival drops substantially." He still might tell you to f* off, but he is much more likely to listen to that than a someone he perceives as a jerk making a snarky comment.
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO 5/31/2017 6:41:15 PM
There's no doubt I could have approached it differently. After each picture he snapped I was expecting the fish to go back then after quite sometime I finally snapped and said something. I'm sure my tone and what I said didn't help matters. Salmon Slayer: We all have our own stuff that's no excuse to have zero regard for a fish that's going to be released. I agree with constructive criticism needing to be delivered the right way to be well received. I was pissed off and my ton and what I said conveyed that. If I had that moment back I would have said something earlier that offered help. Like "Would you like me to run over there and take a picture for you" then if the selfie marathon looking for the perfect picture aka "Ansel" continued I would have been able to politely tell him come on duder that's a great fish you don't want to kill it.
Abel1, CO 5/31/2017 11:26:10 PM
One thing is for sure he will definitely remember that situation the next time he goes fishing and every time following that. And I'm not sure that is a good thing. For him. Example. I find myself tube fishing alongside some newfound buds at Lake No Fish. Everyone's having a good time. Then I catch a trophy trout. I bonk it on the head and head for the shoreline. Will I be getting high fives and thumbs up or is there going to be some low rumbling of dissatisfaction. My guess is the latter and having that feeling because of something that happened in the past will stay with you for awhile. Kind of ruins the sport in a small way. I'll be the first one to take a bullet for someone in an armed robbery but I'm not ready to take one over a fish. In a way you Eric took one for the team!
Salmon Slayer, CO 6/1/2017 4:59:40 PM
Eric, thanks for clarification on Ansel Adams. I get it now. Regarding anger directed at other anglers in such circumstances, CPW has some helpful advice. The Colorado statute the advice is based on mentions both hunters and anglers. Here are two points:
"•Don’t do anything that could be considered threatening.
•Remain calm and composed, avoiding confrontation or arguing."
I'd say the guy you were addressing felt harassed, based on the above. However, based on his response, he did not live up to the CPW directives. Food for thought: at what point does anger directed at another angler in such circumstances become harassment according to the statute? When physical violence occurs? When threats of violence occur? When a person feels threatened based on angry tone and angry comments? Or maybe all this is moot. Maybe the statute itself is null and void, if personal scruples permit an angler to get in another angler's grill whenever he/she takes personal affront.
Smelly, CO 6/2/2017 5:06:21 PM
There was a post about catching bedding bass. The reply I gave was in reference to exactly this kind of person. They become " good" at something.( Nothing wrong with that. And very commendable . ) But at some point it's no longer about enjoying the activity. But a desire for the prestige they get from their peers by showing off their prowess. The only value that fish had to that person . Was the "atta boys" it would bring. Other than that. That fish held very little value to him. You could argue with that clown all day long. You will never reach him. My first tip off was .He had now idea how good you were. But his immediate response was . " I'm better at this than you!" More and more of them popping up all the time. One of the negative side effects of Social Media I suspect.