Social Media & Fishing in 2018
by: Eric Allee , Colorado 1/23/2018
Admittedly the older the more bah humbug I have flowing through my veins. I see the Kardashians or Lavar Ball soaking in the limelight and I question what the hell we’re doing as a society. However, I’ve always taken solace in knowing anglers for the most part have always risen above most less than admirable societal norms… then along comes social media.
Much like the forums we bitched about before fishing and social media’s relationship started as a thing of beauty. We could connect with our friends and family and share our love for fishing with each other without worrying about every Tom, Dick, and Harry playing inspector Gadget with our pictures hoping to super sleuth their way to finding out fishing holes. It didn’t take long before some savvy anglers figured out social media was an amazing networking tool for the business side of fishing. What was once innocent and well meaning had now turned into what I like to call the Pro-Staff era of fishing.
We’ve always had patch pirates and bait hangers, but they were limited to tournament anglers, now for whatever reason everyone who catches fish must make sure the entire world knows it. Before some of you get your panties in a wad about me saying that relax I don’t think that is a negative thing. I love looking at fish pictures, always have, always will. Even better if the angler is smiling in the picture which to me gets not only anglers jazzed up about heading out to fish, but also people who don’t fish get curious with a picture that clearly shows someone having a wonderful time. Much like it didn’t take long for savvy anglers to figure out social media can be an amazing networking tool for fishing… it didn’t take long for turds to realize social media is also an amazing tool to rile people up and get that much needed negative attention that trolls thrive off of. If you aren’t familiar with the term internet troll, I’ll save you the google search. An internet troll is someone who thrives on negative attention and will stop at nothing to get it. They spend mountains of time zipping out vulgar zingers on social media fishing groups whole drinking code red mountain dew in their parents basement. They seem to know everything there is to know about fishing, but oddly enough never seem to fish.
Before the past couple months, I never paid much attention to internet or social media fishing trolls. Granted every now and then I’d get sucked into a debate with a troll until I realizing they weren’t looking for a different perspective just an argument. I’ve always thought they were annoying but never thought they’d weasel their way into the fabric of fishing…. I may have been wrong.
Lately, most social media fishing groups resemble a Jerry Springer episode more than they do an inviting place to talk fishing. I don’t blame the creators of the group or even the moderators of these groups as sad as it sounds trashing another angler online has now become a societal norm. Post a big fish and before we offer up a congratulations we want to know if the fish was caught or released. After that we thoroughly examine how the fish is being handled in the picture we start looking at the background. First we examine it to see if we can pinpoint the location to possibly fish it soon ourselves, immediately followed by further examining the background to see if others can pin point the location to fish it for themselves. Within a few seconds of looking at a picture online we have a handful of heated debates that can and will take place on social media. I want to make sure I’m clear in the fact that I’m not talking about this subject up above everyone preaching down… not only have I noticed this is how others examine fishing pictures on social media, it’s how I’ve examined pictures too.
First how have we gotten to this place we’re at now with social media and fishing? Why do anglers who genuinely care about each other in general start looking at pictures with judgement and condemnation before even considering saying anything positive. I think there’s a few things at play here that start with many of us caring about the resources that we share with each other. Most anglers have learned how to offer up some positive advice in regards to selective harvest and fish handling. It’s lead to some positive back and forth discussions that have helped a ton… then the trolls found out that all it takes to fire up hordes of fisherman is to post a picture of a kept trophy fish, mishandled fish, or make it a point to show the location of a fishery anglers have kept under wraps for decades. What went from predominately positive back and forth talks about important subjects has now turned into a full on Troll-fest, and the good guys and gals aren’t winning.
I’m sure by now at least a handful of you are shaking your head saying “Eric this isn’t important” but I disagree. Like it or not social media is now how many people are first exposed fishing and the outdoors. Potential anglers both young and old pop into these groups to see what the culture surrounding fishing is like. I hate to repeat myself but again like it or not social media is also where people now go to be a part of a community. My question to all of us is how can we go back to putting our best foot forward, ignoring the trolls, and making sure the community we’re all a part of sets a good example for youth anglers and folks who’ve recently started fishing?
A careful man I must always be;
A little fellow follows me.
I know I dare not go astray
For fear he’ll go the self same way.
I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate’er he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be;
This little chap who follows me.
He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see;
This little chap who follows me.
I must be careful as I go
Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
Because I am building for the years to be;
This little chap who follows me.
Blog content © Eric Allee
Kenny Rukspin, CO 1/23/2018 2:05:03 PM
There is a reason Microsoft Word does not recognize the last name of Ghandi. Unlock that mystery, and you will unlock the beauty of spellchecker.
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO 1/23/2018 2:23:54 PM
Haha Kenny wrote this before my morning coffee already frustrated. Unlocked the mystery and edited the blog.
Oyey, CO 1/23/2018 3:52:56 PM
Wow... I have so so much to say on this subject. Frankly, I've waited for a long time to read this exact article from you, Eric. I think you are a good dude with, for the most part, good intentions. You have only ever wronged me once, which I have since gotten over. That said, I knew this day would come.
I asked you one time to keep something private. I spoke to you to "lend perspective" because it was a perspective that you have now felt yourself and are now writing a blog about. As we both know, you did not keep what I had to say private, and intern, it cost me a loose friendship. Frankly, if it wasn't that, it would have been something else with that person, but that's not my point today.
Today, I hope you realize what I was trying to tell you to begin with. When folks start out with critical eyes and many times fueled by jealousy, envy or maybe just ego, it takes a lot of the fun out of our sport. When the first thing that comes is criticism or language that insinuates lying or whatever negative slant one can come up with, it simply takes away from an otherwise fun thing to share (on both ends, reader and publisher).
I don't have an answer to this, and frankly, I've gotten to a very good place with social media and fishing, but I hope at some point you realize that even when good people are told something useful or encouraged to approach something in a positive way, many times they just don't care and gets turned into garbage.
So, be careful... as you say... You might just be shitting on a decent person yourself. Or promoting the exact attitude that you have grown to hate. I hope this time it sinks in.
Smelly, CO 1/23/2018 4:28:43 PM
Another good post Eric. Dont feed the Trolls ! Best thing we can do is ..NOTHING..! Give them no responce whatsoever ! Noticed a rash of them hear last season. We seem to have the ..obvious..trolls. And we also have a few folks that " take enjoyment "in only posting a picture ,when they ..Know.. it will cause a stir. Best Tacitc ? Still .No responce. But these guy's know how to "push buttons ". And it's hard for some to ignore. Now . You only seem to do these " Fire and Brimstone " blogs when something got you P.O. So, somebody or something must have gotten to you.
LastKast2010, CO 1/23/2018 5:19:54 PM
We as fisherman are getting away from the point of which most of us started fishing.... for fun!!
I have quit a few "on-line" fishing clubs and most recently, quit a very "top notch" club because of a few bad apples. Im sure you know who.. I have re-joined the club after the "trollers" were kicked out.
Not the point!
We all need to respect each others level of "fun" and quit bashing each other over size, where, when and how! I know its tough, as we all think we are great fisherman.. but its better to learn ...together... then alone!
bharper, CO 1/23/2018 6:17:45 PM
Great points by all! I always remind myself that we’re here to learn,enjoy life in our own personal life as well as interaction with others,better ourselves in all facets.Everyone has good and bad days so if you decide to move on or resolve differences hopefully you learn from it.Even though life isn’t fair to all in the same way it’s still mind boggling how we are here together.So wet a line and enjoy the time!
Eric Allee (TigerHunter), CO 1/23/2018 7:44:50 PM
Oyey: I remember the situation well and looking back I'm not sure why anyone else myself included decided to get involved guessing about someone else's fish size. Likely ego which most anglers have, but looking back it was petty at best caring how big a fish was or wasn't. It wasn't the first or last time I was a member of the scale police which brings absolutely nothing positive to the table. It isn't easy writing these blogs hoping people talk about issues that as a community we could handle better, myself included. Fortunately with each passing year I feel like I gain a little bit of wisdom I didn't have the year before. One thing that isn't easy is reflecting on my own behavior knowing I could have handled myself better... There's a reason a lot of people in the industry steer clear from any controversial topics online or otherwise. I'm not sure if I'm just a glutton for punishment, but I've never shied away from being an active member of the fishing community both online and otherwise simply because I'm a fisherman before I'm anything else (obvious things excluded). I'm okay will failing as long as it's forward that goes for everything fishing related and otherwise. Smelly: It wasn't one thing in particular it's just the overall tone of social media and fishing lately. Don't get me wrong there's always some great threads and people helping each other, but it gets overshadowed by the dudes who'll do anything to get another person to argue with them. Which is a who gives a damn thing... until you see younger anglers modeling that behavior.
Lloyd Tackitt, TX 1/24/2018 9:39:43 AM
I used to be a member of a very large and fun on-line fishing forum. Used to be because I quit it several months ago. It got to be not much more than a brawl every time someone posted something. It had become infected with hate and vitriol for some reason. I hated leaving it, but it was a solid decision. My opinion is that the fish rots from the moderators down.
Coyute, CO 1/25/2018 11:49:19 AM
When I saw the word kardashian, I almost didn't bother with the rest. LOL. Funny topic. There are times when I rather like reading a shrewd troll poking fun towards the self righteous. FxR was certainly more lively before the 'Pro-Staff era of fishing.' The cads and the spot poachers were dealt with swiftly and without interference by the high and mighty moderators. Once the site became too PC, a lot of the more interesting cats no longer posted. I would personally rather have a little contrast and drama on the site than just a sad passel of goodie goodies. I have always had the utmost respect for serious anglers, but it seems my angling brethren has been affected by the thin-skin disease that plagues the world these days. It makes me cringe when I see young anglers being bombarded in social media with the attitude that if they don't wear a billboard jersey and pimp and hashtag their days away they won't be considered serious anglers. Fishing has become too marketing centric and less about the actual fishing. Too me, that's a sad reality for a young angler. However, I have never shied away from offering a young angler a few tips and my boat generally has an open seat for beginners and pros alike.
malty falcon, CO 1/29/2018 10:09:07 PM
I know what you mean, Lloyd. I left two forums I liked because they degenerated into "whose is better, whose is longer" matches. My life is too short for that business. I'm glad I found a Happy Place here on FxR--just upped my membership to this side.
Show me happy informative posts about fishing, not politics!