TWO KINDS OF FISHING
Originally Published the Week of January 19, 2017 in Western Outdoor News
About the time I first moved to Baja many years ago, an old Baja fishermen who had already spent more than two decades wandering up-and-down the peninsula made an observation that I will never forget.
Back in those days, I tended to listen to anyone who seemed to have a handle on how to improve my fishing skills.
He told me that all fishing can be narrowed down to two types of fishing.
He called one “ego fishing.”
That’s where you go out and bang it up. You lock and load. You catch a lot of fish. You go all out. You make yourself feel good catching the most fish…or the best fish…or a fish bigger than your buddy. Every cast is a hit. Every hit is a fight. Every fight is a conquest Kodak moment.
You make yourself feel pretty good about yourself.
You’re the “hunter-gatherer” of all hunter-gatherers. Inside, you’re thumping your chest and letting out your best Tarzan yell inside. You’re high-fiving yourself all over the place.
Nothing wrong with that. Especially, if it’s done in fun and good sport.
He told me the “second kind of fishing” might not be as fun, but maybe more important. He called it “homework fishing.”
The old-timer explained to me that “homework fishing” is often what made ego fishing ultimately more fun. Like the name, homework fishing meant doing the background work that helped you get ahead. It meant leaving my comfort zone of what I knew and trying to do something different with the intent of improving skill set.
He told me that fishing in Baja was the best place to do it. He explained that the rich Baja waters gave folks the opportunity to learn new things. You could make mistakes and learn from them. If something didn’t work, the ocean often gave you more chances to hone your skillset.
Basically, if you “farmed” (lost) a fish, you often had many more opportunities to give it another shot. Therefore, you could see what worked and didn’t work.
So, he went on to tell me that it’s good to put the ego aside, even when everyone else is catching fish to try a new lure. Try that new knot you had been working on. Practice your casting. Try different trolling patterns or colors. Practice different ways to make a bait presentation or retrieving a lure.
You might catch fewer or less fish than the next person, but “one step back will often put you two steps forward in the long run.”
I never forgot that and it has served me well.
But, many years down the road, I think there’s a 3rd type of fishing. I simply call it “Passing the Torch” fishing. It’s where you pass on whatever you know and help someone else with their fishing.
You don’t need to be a pro. It’s just involves imparting whatever you know to someone who doesn’t know.
It could be as simple as showing an 8-year-old how to pin a bait on a hook. It could be showing another guy how to tie a knot he or she didn’t know. Or as easy as sharing a story.
I guarantee that you’ll also learn something yourself.
As I write this, we’re here in Denver at the moment at the International Sportsman’s Expo. We’ve had a booth here now for 16 years. It’s the first of more than a dozen fishing/ hunting shows that we’ll do over the next three months.
This particular show has almost 600 outfitters and vendors from around the world. Hunting lodges and guide services from South Africa to Argentina. Fishing operations from the Bering Sea to the the Indian Ocean. And, of course a few of us from Baja, Mexico as well. There’s gear and guns, equipment and tackle, boats and RV’s. It’s quite a show.
One of the most gratifying things is to see so many parents bringing their kids to these shows. Or guys who bring their buddies. I love seeing their eyes go wide as they walk the aisles and talk to real-life geography lessons.
It’s show-and-tell on a grand scale.
I had one gentleman this evening come to our booth. He wasn’t particularly looking to book a fishing trip. But… He had never seen the ocean…except in photos. It’s hard to wrap my brain around that one. He had NEVER seen the ocean!
He had never caught a fish larger than a bluegill. We got him excited about white sand and big fish. We talked about tacos, sunrises and fishing in flip-flops and shorts. We told him about turquoise waters that were warm as bathwater. We convinced him to give Baja a try.
He just sent me an e-mail telling me he was so excited he couldn’t sleep and how much he had enjoyed the chat. He had already spent several hours looking at fishing websites and youtube videos about fishing in Mexico.
Little bits of knowledge. From one to another. And that’s how the word spreads!
That’s my story!
Jonathan Roldan has been writing the Baja Column in Western Outdoor News since 2004. Along with his wife and fishing buddy, Jilly, they own and run the Tailhunter International Fishing Fleet in La Paz, Baja, Mexico www.tailhunter-international.com. They also run their Tailhunter Restaurant Bar on the famous La Paz malecon waterfront. If you’d like to contact him directly, his e-mail is: email@example.com
Or drop by the restaurant to say hi. It’s right on the La Paz waterfront!
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