Taking into account that of course there are anglers and then there are anglers, and within this perfectly awesome sport there are varying levels of obsession, well sometimes I am sure you come across the odd angler or indeed story that really makes that extra bit of impact. I just absolutely love how such a basic thing as feeling the urge to try and outwit fish can bring about behaviour patterns for example that could only be attributed to an angler. Hell I would imagine we have all done things in the pursuit of fish that would cause non-anglers to think we are even madder than most of us are already. Still with me?
Earlier this year when I was out in Cape Cod with Matt from Fiiish, we ended up spending a fair amount of time chasing the stripers in the famous Cape Cod canal. Now there seems to be something about striped bass and the levels of angler addiction to them, indeed there are direct parallels to our bass fishing of course - save for the health of our fishery as opposed to across the pond. Anyway, by pure luck and then via some incredibly kind local help, Matt and I were lucky enough to get a couple of sessions in on the canal that were right in the middle of a good level of striper activity, and this in turn brought big numbers of anglers (addicts?) in like flies to a pile of the proverbial. Fishing grapevines work in many different ways these days, but at the end of the day it’s all about dedicated anglers chasing good fishing almost whatever the consequences? Work? Sleep? Money? Family? Sod that, there’s big fish feeding……....
Anyway, we met this particular guy one morning. I guess you can get a fairly good idea of when the Cape Cod canal is fishing by the number of trucks parked up at weird hours, but this angler struck me firstly because he looked fairly dishevelled (ok, it was lamping it down and we all looked like drowned rats), and secondly because he seemed pretty stressed. Stopping and talking about the fishing is part and parcel if you ask me, but this guy was having a bit of a mare - and I had to ask why.
I can’t remember where he had travelled from to get to the canal, but it was a long way, and I am assuming he got the news that the fish were in and dropped everything to get himself there. He couldn’t afford a place to stay and was therefore living in his beaten up old truck when he wasn’t fishing the canal (OK, so most of the trucks in the US are so big entire families could live in them without too much discomfort). I got the impression pretty quickly that this guy was your proper striper junkie, but what he said next I will never forget, and it makes me laugh every time I think of it. True fishing addiction.
This angler had just lost a particular surface lure that he had been smashing striped bass on right before we met him, and he was so stressed because he couldn’t decide whether to spend the last of his money on a new lure, or if he should forego the lure and spend the last of his money on getting something to eat. I don’t know whether there was an element of exaggeration with the lack of funds he had left, but it just really struck me how here was a hungry and dripping wet angler who looked like he could do with a decent meal and at least a bit of drying out, but because he had lost his killer lure and the fish were feeding, he was beating himself up about what was more important - food or lure, lure or food!! And the last thing he said before heading off in his truck was that we was going to the local tackle shop to buy another lure and food be damned. I love it. True fishing junkies, and I am sure that many of us here are proud to be one.