When you live in the Midwest, one thing is for sure — nothing is for sure.
Whether it’s the weather, taxes or priorities, it seems we are always reacting to change. Change can be good, but as we get older and trust what once was, change can become an ugly word. No doubt we are in the era of change, but could it slow down a bit? Confusion is the norm when too much change comes at once — it's like altering the rules of the game in the middle of playing it.
Social media has changed everything and it’s a pipeline to know everything about everyone. "Saw the picture of the big fish," or, "That was great sunset picture” has replaced giving a hoot about our fellow man.
Is it me, or is fishing and outdoors the last place where we do care and actually talk to each other? I am sure there are other places where people actually converse, but a quick drive or walk through uptown, downtown or around the block tells you no one talks anymore.
Cell phones are a crutch, and even though we call them “in case of emergency have-to-haves," there are few times they actually are. What did we do before cell phones? We hollered, we spoke to each other and we laughed. We still do all three in fishing, and for that I am thankful. Not so much the hollering, but the other two put fishing people in another category.
Tuesday Nighters, Thursday Nighters and weekend jackpots are what we live for, and honestly most of us know the others in those groups by name. The best part of a day on the water can be the before and after the fishing.
Scary thought today maybe, but starting out with learning who the heck is who isn’t old school but rather the right school. Even it’s a nickname, it’s a conversation starter and nicknames start to be part of those folk’s personas. We have the Smiley Brothers, Team Argument, Pete and Re-Pete and the Hakes Boys. The funny thing is, last names do matter. Even at 70 or 75, the term “boys” still holds value, like: “Those boys can really catch 'em.” It’s curious how most know last names but have no idea what first names are, but that is OK in our circles. We look at it as a start.
I am a watcher and am always observing. I look at people when I talk to them. I look in their eyes and it's funny how listening and looking at someone just seems right. The funny thing is, most look back.
Lately, discussions away from fishing center on COVID-19, politics and taxes. Even though they matter, they are all way down on the pecking order when out on the water. They may be conversation fodder at the coffee shop, but on the water or in a park, they don’t hold my attention long.
Finding out about kids, families and what new gadget they have on their boat is just more fun to me.
Simply put, we have lost trust — not in fishing for the most part, although win a couple and see if folks are jealous or envious. Yes, there is a big difference to see where the rubber meets the potholes. A fist bump or a simple “way to go” goes a long way today.
I can honestly say I trust all of my fellow competitors. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t fish. Not the same for politics or taxes.
I ask myself everyday: Do I see the good or am I hoodwinked? I TRUST them and am not afraid to say I do. If someone has a great day, applaud that because if you do, they might applaud you back. Be the first one to say congrats and be happy for them instead of being disgruntled.
This works at home in your neighborhood as well as at the lake. Be nice and you will be surprised — folks will be nice back. Give it a try and learn your neighbor’s names, too. You might be surprised how your people across the street or next door might just become friends, too. Let’s start a trend that includes trust of our neighbors and doing the right thing again. Many still do, but there are good stories out there that just never get talked about.
Instead of looking for the clouds, look for the sun shining through and you just might find you have a better day. My hope comes from an old saying: The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but sometimes it gets replaced." I am counting on the latter.
Terry Brown is President of Wired2Fish.com, an industry leading, daily website and social media fishing centered community that provides information on products, industry newsmakers and fishing techniques. You can read more by going to www.Wired2Fish.com.