NOT the competition…

In its own twisted way, bass fishing must be getting closer to “conventional sports.” I know that because just like those, where cliches smother the commentary, we’re now stepping up to the plate, making it one cast at a time and giving 110 percent.

And the worst of the worst in fishing is the awful, tournament platitude, “You’re not fishing against the other anglers, you’re fishing against the fish.”

That is soooo wrong. First, just take a look at the standings. Scoreboard, baby! Nowhere will you find “Mike Ropterus” ahead of you at the end of the day. Admittedly, it’s a game of inches (13, flat board) but it’s on the angler, not the target species to get a check.

Worse than that, the idea implies that all the competitors live in a vacuum, catch fish like they were picking oranges, and the winner is the guy who makes the fewest mistakes. True, the pro boater is the quarterback of the [shared weight] team, and he’s got to make good decisions, but he also has to have good mechanics and avoid nagging injuries.

Now the idea of fishing against the fish may have derived from attempts to avoid distractions and stay focused. (Yeah, like when the throng over on the 15th green goes ballistic when Tiger holes a 25-footer). But you know what? That’s part of competition.

And in tournament fishing such as the U.S. Open on Lake Mead, you can go through 25 bass for a limit weighing 7 1/2 pounds and John Murray may barely catch his fifth just 10 minutes before weigh-in–for 14 1/2 pounds! You whipped those fish, alright–now welcome to 38rd place!

I’m sorry, you’re not fishing against the fish. You’re fishing against Murray, Dobyns, Martens and all the rest.


4 Responses to “Fishing against the fish? That’s bogus, dude”

I agree with the fish against the fish cliche. Way overdone.

And they have them in your part of the world (“Minnesocold”) too, Mr. Pundit. But I get it–my Dad went to St. Paul Central HS and was a Golden Gopher for a year during the Depression. 🙂

DUDE, a few thoughts on your thoughts:

Agree with the overall concept that you are, obviously, fishing against the other competitors and with the notion you have to have good mechanics and few disabilities. But, those aspects play a minor role. It IS all about hook-catch ratio (few to zero mistakes) and making the right decisions in preparing your game plan and during the tournament. How many times have you heard that an angler got a backlash, was pulling line off their reel, and when they reeled up a 3 pounder had swallowed their topwater. It is the RIGHT decisions, right timing, almost zero errors and some luck that wins tournaments. As you suggested, this phrase may have several connotations. In a tournament, you must first catch fish and probably some nice ones,to even think about COMPETING with the likes of Aaron Martens, Klinger and Dobyns. You have to weigh in bass not Martens’. So, first off it is YOU against the fish and it is YOU that has to figure out how to catch them. You can’t worry about how, numbers or size that the Martens’ are getting in pre-fish. That only screws up your thinking process. Think about how YOU can catch fish based on your strengths and the techniques/baits you have confidence in. Leave the “dock talk” at the dock, do your homework, pre-fish as hard as you are able and have YOUR OWN game plan. On tournament day it is YOU against the fish, so stay focused, keep alert to changing conditions (not the ever present fellow angler reports of how the leaderboard is catching their fish) and adjust your tournament day accordingly. With this strategy and a little luck (maybe a lot to get the big bite) you will win the first battle of “fishing against the fish” and your weight can COMPETE with the likes of Aaron, Tim and Gary. If that doesn’t happen, now is the time to listen to how others caught their fish and learn from the experience. You will then have that much more information and experience to have on hand for the next tournament and the next and the…..

I had to take some time and cogitate on this one. The “fish against the fish” line has been around long enough that we all kind of trot it out when it’s convenient. (I’d have to check my portfolio, but I’m sure I’m guilty of it as well).

Upon further review however, it is clearly an oversimplification of tournament bass fishing and perhaps a politically correct way of not bashing the competition. Kumbaya y’all. Sorry, people make mistakes and give others the advantage – just like the fish.

If you wanted to go “New Age” on this, perhaps the line should be “You fish with the fish”, i.e. a Zen connection with our finned counterparts in the cycle of life and shared weight. Now that I’m Bill Siemantel’s tournament partner and hear the grumblings from the internet, I have to say that – in practice – people may fish against the fish , but after they get beat, they don’t bash Micropterus salmoides in the chat rooms.

I’m going to ask Bill if our team motto should be “If you’ve got haters, you must be doing something right”. Against the fish or the other guys? Chalk one up for Kramer.