Fishing is unique due to the fact that it is not limited. Its enjoyment can be shared in a very wide variety. There are no age, gender, or race restrictions that affect the outcome or quality of a day on the water. This makes it a worldwide hobby, sport and occupation. Like any worldwide thing, people have to poke fun at it. Anglers occasionally make fun of ideas or techniques used to catch fish, especially if the ideas a foreign to them. This leads to the stereotypes that make fishing slightly more enjoyable.
In my experience, the most common stereotype is the weekend angler. The “weekend angler” is armed with a $20 spincast rod and a bobber. They enjoy the fun and peace of fishing as well as the small rush of catching fish to take home and eat. This is the average American’s view of fishing. Just a peaceful day of sitting on a dock and waiting for your bobber to go down. We have all been there, and most people say there is no work involved just “plain old luck.”
There is a thought that troubles me. Luck is just a cough up when talking about fishing. When I walk by an angler on the water, the first thing I say is “any luck today?” This lets me see if anyone is catching fish and helps me eliminate tactics that may not be working. Truly though, there seems to be no luck involved. People catch fish through knowledge of the situation they are fishing in. They have to concentrate on what bait the fish want and where the fish are. Even someone who sits in a chair and waits all day moves his bait around the lake once in a while to eliminate places the fish are not biting in. That all takes a little bit of skill.
Even though people have to think a little bit to fish, the term luck is still used against the “weekend angler.” A lot of the people using the term are bass fishermen. Bass anglers have their techniques and are constantly casting and figuring out patterns by process of elimination and other factors. They believe that a “weekend angler” can sit around and do nothing to catch a fish. What I have noticed is that fishing is structured by luck. A pattern can only be established if there is something like luck to help an angler out.
As a bass fisherman, I have fallen into some bad spots trying to find bass. I really needed something to help me out in those times. This story is one of those times. I was out fishing with my friend and I was using a wacky rig trying to find where the bass were at. I was throwing my bait out next to a log and fishing it fairly fast and slowly dying it off. I had a few bites but they were probably bluegill. It was a very boring day when suddenly I backlashed my reel. After swearing a few times and stressing out way too much, I finally got my line straight again. Then I noticed it was a little too straight as I set the hook and reeled in a 2 1/2 pound largemouth. The bait was sitting for at least 5 minutes on the bottom. After that I began to work my bait on the bottom occasionally bouncing it and I received great results. I ended up catching at least 8 more bass within the 2 hours i had left of the day. The backlash I had was the only way I would have discovered the technique. It was pure luck, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
I have plenty of other stories like these, some lucky random hook sets and one where I dropped a bait in a jar of soft plastic dye and caught a ton of fish on a completely chartreuse lizard. Now where does this leave the professional anglers? I have seen many professional bass fishing videos. They have something in common. Whenever there is luck involved, it is very noticeable. Some of the anglers talk so much they start to reel a little bit slower and get a bite. Others may need to scratch their face and while they take their hand off the reel they get bit. These are all lucky strikes that get anglers the fish they need to win a tournament. Now no matter how much an angler makes fun of luck, it is always helping them out.
What can we take from all of this? I think that knowing that everyone is using luck is very important. It helps us know that some ideas will come out of the blue. Those ideas can even mean coming home with a paycheck, or just having a great day on the water. With luck we can do some things that we would never do, and that can lead to major success. That is why those stereotypes about weekend anglers are not as strong as some think. I hope this opened your eyes about the true meaning of luck and showed you that a pro angler and an average joe are all using the same things to catch their fish.