Fishing is a sport that is known by everyone and many people call themselves anglers. However there is only a handful in the angling population that are considered as true blue anglers. Let us take a look at what it takes to be considered as one.
1) Thinks like a fish
As Sun Tze once said "To know your enemy, you must become your enemy." This is very applicable in life even if you do not have any enemies. To handle your customers well, you have to know what they want. To make your wife happy, you have to know what your wife likes. So to catch a fish, you have to know what is its feeding behaviour and where it likes to hang out.
A true blue angler will observe and research on the fish which he wants to catch, go into the mind of the fish and think like one. When the current is strong, where will I swim to to rest my fins? The sun is so hot, where can I find shade? I'm hungry, where is the best place to ambush my next meal? If you can think like a fish, your instincts will naturally tell you which is the next best spot to cast your lure.
2) Rod and Angler as one
This sounds like the final skill in a Chinese kungfu manual where the pugilist has to combine his soul and his sword into one to attain the highest level of martial arts. When it comes to angler and his fishing equipment, this is true to a certain extent. We cannot see through water to know what is happening to our bait or lure. However we can visualise it by feeling it with our fishing rods and in some cases, hand-lines.
A true blue angler knows which rod is most suitable for him. And when he and his rod "becomes one", he will be able to tell whether he is fishing on a sandy or muddy seabed, has his lure hit a rock or a patch of seaweed? Is his bait being nibbled by small fish or taken by a crab? The underwater world becomes visible to him through the signals he receives from his rod.
"Nice weather!" This is what we often hear when we see our neighbours. This is how true blue anglers greet each other. "Excellent tides today at 7:15 pm with the highest tide at 3.4 meters and the sun sets at 7:34 pm. We are in for a good time!" A true angler always check the tide table, the moon phase and the sunrise/ sunset timings before planning a fishing trip.
He understands that the success of a fishing trip depends largely on when and where you go fishing. Going to a productive fishing spot at the wrong time will not yield good results and vice versa. He has tuned himself so sensitive to weather and climate changes that he will feel a tickling sensation in his fingers when the fishing time is right, just like how someone with rheumatism predicts the rain.
4) Fish lovers
Seriously not being a hypocrite here but a true blue angler has to be the best fish lover. He understands the fish behaviour, their likes and dislikes and their favourite hangouts more than he knows his wife's. He is very well aware that if he does not protect the fish habitat and environment, there will be no future in fishing.
An angler comes into closer contact with live fish than anyone else by holding the fish in his hands, and releasing it into the water. Sometimes the fish even swims back a while to bid farewell. Yes, the angler did give a mouth or tongue piercing to the fish, but that is how the connection and relationship between the true blue angler and the fish is made.
There are many types of fishing techniques and skills in this world. Some require more practice, some require more patience and some require more expensive equipment. Regardless of which technique you are good at, an angler will not judge another when the other angler is using a technique that requires less skill or his equipment is less expensive.
A true angler will also not grade themselves as more superior than others when his catch is bigger or stronger. Be it a giant tuna caught on a $2,000 setup or a small scad caught on a hand line, we all share a common passion and will enjoy a day out fishing regardless of which technique was use and what fish was caught.
So are you a true blue angler?