Maybe it’s creeped into your life and your fishing, too? I’m talking about the social media explosion and it’s impact on the angling world. I had a wakeup call last week while fishing with some folks that got me to thinking about this phenomenon and some of the subtle changes it has spawned when we catch a fish these days.
Last weekend I was fishing with John Higginbotham Sr., his son John Jr. , 23, and their friend Richard Ahronian of Fresno for stripers in the big lake at San Luis. The morning fishing was tough, but about 10 a.m. we had a hard strike and John Jr. grabbed the pole while the good-sized fish stripped off some line. After a strong fight, I finally netted the fat 15-pound striper — our first bite and a new record for John Jr. Pretty exciting stuff, and we whipped out our cell phones for pictures! A few minutes later we let the fish go and got back to fishing. And that’s when I happened to see John Jr. furiously texting about then, too.
I’m driving the boat when 15 minutes later my cell phone rings and I see it’s my son David, 26, calling. I answer, and my son gushes out: “Dad, did you guys just catch a 15-pound striper?” Since I hadn’t sent any pictures to him or anyone else and he didn’t know these folks, I asked him how in the heck had he found out about a fish we had just released minutes before? “Well, Dad I was on InstaGram and it popped up about a guy catching a big striper and I happened to see the posted picture. I looked at the background and I could see our deck and pole holders. Is it your guys. Dad?” I confirmed that “it was John Jr.’s fish,” but then asked, “David, do you know him?” He replied, “Nope, it just popped up and there were a lot of messages about it from other people!” Incredible, the fish had become an item on the web in a matter of minutes and the post taken on a life of its own before I had even gotten the boat back in gear. Yikes!
I asked John Jr. about the posting and he told me that the congratulatory messages were pouring in as we spoke. Is that what it means to go viral? Yeah, I had been seeing some interesting web-related trends on my other trips, too! For example, I had a guy last year tell me that he had a buddy who decided not to go fishing with us because he didn’t think we would do any good. Motivation! Our mission was clear! So, once the guy started catching fish he would take a picture of each, then immediately text it to his buddy back home and to all his other friends. Adding insult to injury, he also told everyone he texted that his friend had stayed home on purpose and was missing the bite! Double ouch!
Later, his big smile told me that his crestfallen buddy on the receiving end of some of those texts finally had conceded to a crushing defeat after getting about 15 on-the-spot pictures. He finally asked for mercy, with his other fishing buddies now harassing, him, too! It was a satisfying fishing trip on several levels for both of us: Revenge is best served cold!
On the other hand, I’ve noticed another new routine. When a good fish is caught, everyone in the boat scrambles to get their cell phone to shoot pictures or video. After that, it’s a mad dash to email friends, enemies, and buddies and get it posted on Facebook and InstaGram, etc. And it’s all done now from the middle of the lake!
The next day after that San Luis trip, John Sr. told me that he and Richard had laughed like crazy when they found out that the fish had grown overnight in proportion with the number of posts: From 15 to 19-plus pounds and almost 5 inches in length! Epic!
Whoa! The fish had become larger and a social media star, and the girls had loved it! Guess I was born 30 years too early. Never give up!
Delta stripers, bass and sturgeon on tap, Randy Pringle said. Don Pedro kokanee join the fray, Monte Smith reported. McClure pumping out wide-open bass bite, Merritt Gilbert said. Monterrey salmon opener slowed by winds but signs good, Chris Arcoleo reported.