Since coming home from my Alaska fishing trip, I have had this nagging feeling that I needed to come clean on another issue: Did I really “catch” those two big fish?
First of all, it’s pretty obvious that when you go somewhere you’re not familiar with, or even what type of fish you may be encountering, it becomes necessary to have someone who knows what they are doing show you the ropes.
But if the guide/friend takes you to the exact spot, at the right time, using the right lure/bait, on the appropriate tackle, and shows you what to do, did you really “catch” the fish when you get one? Or could it be said that the guide was the one fishing, and all you did was reel when the fish hit the preassigned bait hanging in his living room? Who was the real fisherman here, and who was the “ reeler upper”?
It’s a question that strikes at the heart of who we are as anglers. Was it really your great skill as an angler that allowed you to tow in that massive fish, or were you privileged to have someone who’s very skilled put you in a position to succeed no matter how bad or good you may be?
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Now let me suggest an exception: If you work to get yourself up to speed, and you’ve paid the price for many years, it might rate a footnote added to the guided “big” catch. It reads: “He worked very hard to find the right guide/friend to put him on the fish of a lifetime and no amount of money or travel could keep him from his appointed ‘bucketlist fish.’ Amen!” Appropriate!
Yes, sometimes my “fishing conscience” gets too active for my own good! However, after my trip I had to laugh because I put anglers onto fish all the time. They are proud of what they catch and I do get a little credit for that – sometimes!
Funny, I’ll have a guest catch a good fish and moments later they’ll text the picture to a friend they want to harass. Sometimes they’ll get a call back from the jealous friend, and invariably they’ll twist the knife: “Yeah, I just caught another big one. Where are you? Working?”
I stay quiet, I understand. We all want to take credit. I resemble that remark! From one “reeler” to another:
Never give up!