This is not a story about just one fish and one angler, but rather countless numbers of fish and over 40 million anglers in America.
In fact, this story is about the freshwater and saltwater sport fishing community – your really big fish so to speak. Our industry is facing a perilous freefall and we must take action now to protect it from anti-sport fishing groups and over fishing by fishing guides to ensure our industry lands safely.
You see, as with many social endeavors, ReeledIN.net began as (1) a labor of love (2) a passion for tarpon fishing (3) a desire to lend a hand to fishing buddies and (4) to help preserve what we love for our kids.
However, there are many BIG issues that need to be addressed immediately or we can forget about these first four desires... Not of great urgency you're thinking? Well, then chew on this:
The Walmart family foundation donates millions of dollars to anti-recreational fishing organizations.
Rolling Stone magazine (with over one million subscribers) has recently joined this anti-sport fishing movement.
Then there is PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) who, among other extreme activities, is promoting a "fishing hurts" sticker to kids with a suggestion, "If someone asks you to go fishing, explain why you won’t go. Tell them that fish have feelings and deserve to live just like everyone else."
And, to use a well worn expression, this is just the tip of the iceberg...
Let’s call it like it is – throughout history extreme groups have proven time and again they are a detriment in most any environment. It really shouldn’t be too hard to understand that moderation is the key. And, this is why fishing conservation is so crucial in order to gain a balance.
If you’re a recreational angler you should not take this anti-sport fishing lightly and know that now is the time for you to take a positive step forward before it's too late for us and our kids.
And, if you are a fishing guide or make your living from sport fishing, you may already know how these extreme groups are threatening your livelihood. Ignoring these groups will not make them go away.
Here's another issue threatening sport fishing...and that's over fishing by too many fishing guides who are more concerned about their clients' tips and return business than they are of the fisheries.
My fishing time is spent in Sarasota, FL in the bay and near shore along the beaches here, and the proliferation of fishing guides is out of control. These guides appear to be pulling thousands of fish out of the bay, beach, and inshore reefs week after week with no let up in sight.
Respect, courtesy, and fishing etiquette for other anglers and even fishing guides appears to be going farther down the toilet each week as the numbers of fishing guides increase. Our salt water real estate has reached a tipping point.
Yes, there are many, many fishing guides who respect our fisheries and do more than their fair share to invest time protecting our sport fish now in order to help ensure a brighter fisheries future, but it doesn't take that many "bad apples" to ruin the whole barrel of apples for everyone.
Unfortunately, these same "bad apple" fishing guides are their own worst enemies. I continually hear about how poor the fishing is or how tough it is to catch bait. They don't seem to understand the obvious i.e. the more you take out the less there is for the taking. It seems as though these fishing guides expect nature to magically keep the fishing areas well stocked for their pleasure and profit.
What saddens me is hearing guides boast about catching huge numbers of fish, getting big tips, and not thinking about the damage they are doing to their future livelihood. It's solely about the business and profit for way too many of them.
Prostituting themselves for a few more bucks without regard to the future is truly sad. Sounds a lot like corporate America, doesn't it?
One of my fishing buddies uses the term "bay raper" to describe these "bad apple" fishing guides who give little to no concern about the health of our fisheries, and only focus on themselves and their profit. This term pretty much sums it up...
There's also the problem of increased poaching in the Sarasota area (and most likely many others), and when I asked the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) what they were doing about it, the response was "we're underfunded..."
Well, just recently I contacted them with a plan to increase revenue over $50 million by requiring a $25 registration fee on kayaks, small sailboats, stand up boards, etc. I also suggested requiring these registrants to take a boating safety course, which would bring in additional revenue.
Most likely, this type of situation is taking place across America, whether it's in bays, beaches, lakes, or rivers and not enough attention is being given to the problem.
Let's get something straight, I am not advocating 100% catch and release fishing or taking a tree hugger stance, but rather suggesting a balance such as implementing a fish limit for the boat (for fishing guides) instead of a limit for each person on the boat.
Obviously, there may be better ways to turn around the declining fish population without going to extremes such as anti-sport fishing groups advocate, so let me know your thoughts.
You can learn more about conservation and the anti-sport fishing groups when you visit Save Sport Fishing on ReeledIn.net today. As anglers, we all have one thing in common and that is to enjoy fishing in the many ways it presents itself to us; whether it’s the fishing or the catching, the family cohesion, the outdoors, the travel, adventures, or whatever your desire.
Regardless of your background or age, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. And, this is exactly how we can challenge overfishing by fishing guides and these extreme groups hell bent on taking away our fishing rights – by overcoming our lethargy as anglers and challenging each anti-sport fishing issue, one issue at a time.
We owe a commitment right now to look after our fisheries for ourselves and for our future generations!
Sincerely, Lee Roberts
P.S. While searching the Internet over hundreds and hundreds of hours, I discovered great time saving and informative fishing and related websites that I now pass along to you through my ReeledIn Directory. Please enjoy the fruits of my labor!
Dedicated anglers and guides share us!