There is so much debate going around about who is a true angler. I have heard that unless you fish tidal water, you aren’t a true angler. I’ve heard that if you fish ponds, you aren’t a true angler. I’ve heard that if you aren’t in a big, fancy bass boat, you aren’t a true angler. If you don’t fish big tournaments, you aren’t a true angler. So many people have an opinion about who is and who isn’t a true angler.
Personally, an angler is anyone who goes fishing. I started out as a kid with a cane pole with a length of line attached. I had a bobber attached to the line and at the end of the line I had a hook and split shot weight to keep the hook under the water. I had a piece of earthworm threaded onto the hook and caught my first fish that way, a bream that was probably 5 inches long. I was so proud that I did it with my dad and grandfather. We fished what was called a pond, but in some areas, they call it a lake because of its size. I still enjoy the peace of doing just that.
As the years went by, my equipment changed to a Zebco 202, and I fished for bass and perch with it. I ate the perch and bass I returned to the water. My baits changed from an earth worm to artificial lures. Who I was never changed, I was still an angler. I fished in ponds and the river, although it was for a different type of fish. I caught bass, crappie, pickerel, bream, white perch, yellow perch, and catfish. Some perch, crappie, and catfish ended up in the frying pan or baked. As all anglers often do. But who I was, never changed.
And then I started to take bass fishing more serious. I started to acquire more tackle, different rods and reels, and more artificial lures. I became a member of a BASS Youth Club. My knowledge expanded with my experience. And as I grew, I expanded my fishing territory, moving into rivers and bigger lakes. But who I was, that same person as when I started, never changed.
I have, since those humble beginnings, learned a lot. I have had the opportunity to fish in many tournaments from Florida to Virginia. I have fished upon the St. John’s River, the James River, the Potomac River and many lakes and reservoirs along the way. My expertise as a bass angler has grown and expanded. By no means am I an expert angler. I truly believe there are no expert anglers, as we all keep learning every time we hit the water. I do believe that there are some that know a lot more than I do, but may still be able to learn something from me. I know I can learn from them. But I am still the same person inside, an angler, who began this journey
I as most anglers, started off the bank or dock. I moved from the dock into different styles of boats. I fished from a canoe, and old wooden rowboat, to an aluminum jonboat, and then a bass boat and finally a kayak. No matter where I cast the line into the water, I am still an angler, a real angler.
According to the dictionary, an angler is a person who fishes with a hook (angle) and line as a hobby or sport. This a broad definition that includes anyone who uses a hand line, a cane pole, a rod with a reel attached, or flyrod. It does not specify the type of water that is fished. It does not specify age or sex of the person. It does not specify from where they fish. An angler can stand on the bank of a pond, on the bank of a lake or river, they can wade into the water and fish. They can float on a tube or raft, ride in a canoe or kayak, fish from a jonboat or a bass boat. It does not specify the expertise of the person, whether a beginner or a 50 year veteran. A true angler is someone who fishes. Don’t you agree?