What’s the difference? Most people will look at the title of this post and ask themselves this very question. For professional and amateur anglers alike there is a huge difference. Professionals and avid “Species” Anglers are always on the hunt for the big one. For instance, a day of Bass fishing is considered successful only when the “Bass” angler lands the big one. I’m not saying that all Bass Anglers feel this way, but the few that I have fished with never seemed to be excited unless they were hooking and landing plenty of fish, and then they only seemed happy with the day if they landed a big one.
One of the most important things that my father taught us boys was that to truly enjoy a day of fishing you needed to be with people you wanted to make memories with and that we should forget the specific species of fish and concentrate on the fish that we were catching in the moment. He showed us how to love fishing, and not just “Species” fishing. It is one of the greatest gifts my father left to us, and for me, this lesson was proven true after fishing with a few “Bass” Anglers. My father instilled in me a desire to fish and to NOT be a “Bass” Angler or “Trout” Angler or Walleye” Angler or any other type of “Species” Angler. I just wanted to be amateur angler who could go fishing and be happy with any fish that I caught regardless of species or size. I found that by not limiting myself to a certain species that I was having more fun and a fun day of fishing must be considered a successful day. If you want to be a “Bass” Angler, “Trout” Angler, Walleye” Angler or any type of “Species” Angler then I applaud your determination to go after the species of your choice, but if that particular species is the only catch that will make you happy then you are missing out on the true pleasures that fishing has to offer.
Think about it this way, if you are a “Bass” angler and you gear up, plan a trip and go out fishing, you are excited at the prospect of landing a Largemouth Bass, perhaps a trophy in the 6 to 10 pound range, and all day long all you catch is Crappies or Kibbies. Did you have a successful day? If you are not catching the fish you want, are you happy with the fishing? Did you have fun NOT catching the fish you wanted to catch? Because I love fishing and I choose fishing partners that love fishing then each day that we get to fish is considered successful regardless of the amount of fish, the size of fish or species of fish that we are catching.
Do I look unhappy with this trophy Bass?
Just this past Saturday, August 24, I had a great day fishing with my brother and nephew. Once again we started out with the intention of going Bass fishing. That’s right, I said Bass fishing. Sounds hypocritical right? Here’s the difference. We had the intention of going Bass fishing, and though we caught a few Bass, we discovered that on this day, the pickerel were the fish that were active.
We never even thought of going somewhere else so that we could catch Bass, all we did was change tactics to catch pickerel and what we got was rewarded with a wonderful day of fishing. The Pickerel were aggressive and fought a ton. It was a fun challenge getting these little beasties into the boat without breaking the line.
We were fishing Stumpfield Marsh again, only this time we went under the bridge to the South on the water. When we got to the far end we could see it covered with lily pads.
We had to row through the pads to find small sections of open water and it was worth it as we caught at least one Pickerel in each of the open sections. During our day there were plenty of other boats on the water but one particular boat really had my attention. I watched the two men on this bass boat for a while making cast after cast. At times we were close enough to see the Spinnerbait and Crankbait they were using in their endeavor to catch bass. I watched them as they moved all over the water and for the couple of hours that they were near us, they did not catch a single fish. This, while we were at least catching Pickerel. I have to say, the body language of the two men on this boat showed that they were not having fun. They hardly talked to each other at all whereas the three of us were having a grand time.
My fellow amateurs, for many years, my job prevented me from fishing. About 20 years if you’d like to know. The reason was because I only had one day off in the middle of the week and with so many other things pressing for my time, I lost touch with fishing. Now, with a change of professions and with the help of my brother and nephew, I have rediscovered my love of fishing. I hope you all have people you love to fish with and make memories and if I can make one suggestion to help you have more fun on your fishing trips it is this…
…Forget the species and size of fish and be happy with the fish you are catching in the moment. It’s a lesson I’m sure my father would have been proud to share with you.
Tight lines, the Amateur Angler