Fishermen - a brotherhood.
By Bob Zettler
July 24, 2010
The belief that all people should act with warmth and equality toward one another, regardless of differences in race, creed, nationality, etc.
I was thinking about this yesterday while out on Lake Shelbyville. I am a born again fisherman and have quickly developed a new addiction but have many, many years to catch up on and so much more to learn. Usually, when someone attains my age (no, I am not a member of AARP) they are looked to as someone who ought to know more about life and the activities they pursue. Such is not true in my case.
However, I have been blessed to either meet or be introduced to so many good and even great people during my life and nowadays it rings true as I go fishing. Case in point. Yesterday, I arrived early at the boat ramp at 5:05 AM and only one other boat was already out. As I began to get ready a car pulls into the lot and begins to drive around in circles as if cruising for a date (LOL). He parks and another vehicle arrives pulling a boat behind me and I see it us another member from another fishing forum. We chat for a few minutes and he said the other person was going out with him but was on the phone with another member from there. Already you see a trend...
I get introduced to the “cruiser” and realize we had already met years ago or at least I knew of him. Another good guy and he delivers a package to me from the man he was talking to on the phone in his car. Talk about weird as I had no idea this was going to happen this way! We chat some more and I tell them I am going to explore a new area as another member, someone I had never met before, had suggested I try a new location out that he had found but I am not sure of where it is but will “cruise” around looking for it as I am getting an early start.
As I am not that experienced with putting a boat in by myself, I took my time as I also knew I had to try and repair my motor before heading out – a spring had come loose last week and hoped I could figure out how to repair it so I wouldn't have to remove the engine cover each time I started it. Now there are two other boats putting in and the one had fished with another member from here just a couple of weeks ago. When he heard me mention my motor might not start he offered me a ride. Now that is a nice guy opening himself and his resources up to a stranger.
Amazingly, I actually fixed the motor in minutes and it started up with the first pull of the rope – let me tell you, that truly is amazing! By now, the other three boats had either or were in the process of taking off and I shared with the one crew where we had been successful at in previous outings and they seemed appreciative.
As I passed by the spot I had fished the last two weekends or so, I could not see any action and stayed the course and headed east. Now I wasn't I quite sure where it was I was going but had the basics in my mind as passed on to me and had the area on my DROID's maps. It was a little vague but as long as I found the one landmark, I was pretty sure I could find the rest. As I came around a point I spotted the other boat who had arrived just after me and had departed before – go figure! And as luck would have it, they were right next to the landmark and all along was the habitat my telephone benefactor said they would be in.
Now here comes the interesting part, it seems the first boat was there fishing and was holding the spot for another friend who showed up later. Now, I am not too sure of etiquette or the like but do try and practice common courtesy, and as they were there first I decided to fish the edges where I was catching a few but probably not like what the others were boating. However, after the first crew left, the late comer suggested I get closer and join the action. Good people...
I stayed out where he suggested and anchored. I began to catch fish too! However, I am in a light boat and it was difficult to hold on a spot and finally ended up moving upwind so I could cast with the wind which I learned from my new benefactor. While we fished, we chatted and he provided me with a wealth of information and suggestions on where to fish for what species and how. Can't beat that!
Around 8:30 AM another boat pulls up and begins to fish out in the open maybe 80 yards from us and the couple begin fishing. I usually pay little attention to people around me when I am fishing, as I am focused on the fish. In fact. I had no idea how well they were doing out there until my friend pointed it out to me and I saw them catching fish on almost every cast. While we weren't doing too bad, they were knocking them for nearly and hour or more before they had to start looking for them as they must have moved.
Anyway, my friend finally leaves just as I was about to head to one of the spots he had suggested as I wanted a break. So instead of my going too, I decided to stay as I hoped people didn't think I was leeching off them again. The couple in the other boat and I chat and I learn they are from Dixon and had been here for the hottest four days of the summer (so far) camping in a tent. We shared thoughts and they left around 1:30 PM.
It was nice and peaceful where I was so I took off my shirt to catch some rays but a little while later another boat arrives and starts fishing the edge like I had started earlier. I had began to catch the White Bass again as they had moved back in on me, and as I texted the boat which had just left with the news in case they wanted to come back, I also suggested to the new guy to get closer to me so we could tag team the fish. He didn't hesitate as he had been out for nearly five or six hours and only had a handful of fish.
Pretty soon we were both back on the action but I noticed them busting shad out where the other boat had been pulling them in that morning and suggested we move in on them. Good choice as they were hitting the lures and were all keepers. As we were out there, another boat arrives and it was a Father and Son; a very talkative son. It seems they had been out since 8:30 AM and had yet to catch a single fish, so I suggested they join us and what to use. Ten minutes later we were all thrilled to hear the boy yell out, “I got one!” That boy was so happy and he kept a running conversation going the rest of the time they were there with ALL Of us. It made his day, and I am sure his Dad's day too, but it also made me happy.
My other new friend ran out of swivels so I asked him to motor over and I threw him four to get him through the next hour and we continued to chase the fish and the shad. Finally, he said he had to go and I decided to try out the new area my friend had most likely boated to earlier where I could finally get out of the sun as it was now 5 PM! Now I had planned on leaving around 1 or 2 PM but I was having fun and didn't need to get home early for a change. We exchanged names and I made it to the new spot where I found two shore fishermen who were catching them left and right. We didn't know each other but they too offered suggestions on where to cast, how to troll and the like. As luck would have it, I couldn't buy a bite as they were landing them left and right. And that was when they pointed out how bad it looked behind me. I knew there were clouds moving in but had no idea it was about to unload on us!
They decided to take off but I was stuck to ride out the storm under the bridge nearby. Let me tell you, I was not happy sitting there with all the lightening strikes, wind and rain but at least I survived. When it was over, I went back to fishing and began to catch fish again and finally called it a day around 8:15 PM. Made it to the ramp and had to put up with four drunks on two Sea Do's. I was finally able to get my boat on the trailer and up into the lot where I ran into a young man waiting on his buddy who was coming from the other end of the lake to pick him up and go fishing. And as I began to prepare the boat for departure he just stepped in and helped me strap it down and the like.
Another fisherman helping a fisherman even though they didn't know each other. And this just added to my thoughts for the day about all the people on the water. Yes, I have had good experiences too with pleasure boaters but the point I want to relate is how there is this brotherhood of fishermen that stretches across boundaries, ages, races, sexes, etc. And yesterday was no different. While I continue to fret about whether I am intruding or just being fortunate to share the waters, experiences and fishing spots with so many more experienced from all over, you just cant help but recognize how there are a lot of good and great people out there in the brotherhood of fishermen (and women)!
God Bless them all!