It has long been assumed that there are no bad fishing days. But our friends and family have annoyances they come across when they’re out fishing, and they go un-discussed— until now. These are the most common occurrences that fishermen hate, and no one is immune to the days of lousy fishing. Let’s talk about them.
No. 1. Due to the size and strength of the infamous Bluefin tuna (and other big game fish), these fish can take over an hour (let alone two hours) before you finally get them on the boat. One stressor anglers encounter is losing that strenuous battle to a broken line. But imagine this— putting in over an hour of work, digging your rod into your side or sitting down and bracing yourself against the boat for leverage, getting that bluefin right next to the hull, and then a shark eats your catch, and you reel in only a head attached to your bait. Fingers crossed that you open the bail and let the fish swim free to outplay the shark, but that’s not a guarantee and not often a scenario you have time to prepare for. Losing your fish to a shark is an inevitable right of passage for an experienced fisherman, but it’ll still bring a tear to your eye.
No. 2. Whether you’re making a rookie mistake or you’re an experienced angler, and it happens to you, getting a hook stuck in your skin is no joke. I once was crossing the Kings River in the Sequoia National Park when a discarded fly-fishing hook became lodged behind my kneecap. The hook had to be pushed through the skin, the barb was clipped, and then the unit was pulled back out. Now, I’m lucky that hook wasn’t attached to a line, but that happens, and it will painfully ruin your day. One solution is to stop using treble hooks. But, if a hook ever finds its way into your flesh, wash your hands with a disinfecting solution (if possible), cut the hook from the line, ice the area to induce numbness (once again, if possible), and if the barb on the fishhook has not entered the skin, pull the tip of the hook back out. If the barb is embedded in the skin, first try the string-pull method. The string-pull process involves tying a piece of string, dental floss, or fishing line to the hook where it enters the skin, then holding the hook with your fingers slightly above where you tied the string, gently press down about 0.3 cm (0.13 in.) to loosen the barb, and finally, while still pressing the hook down (barb loosened), jerk the string so that the hook shaft pulls the barb out of the skin. When the fishhook emerges from the skin, it may fly or flip out. Then go to the doctor because you might need a tetanus shot.
No. 3. Imagine catching a picture-perfect fish. You’re reeling this fish in, and all you can think is, “This beast is going to look great on my dating profile.” You grab that dorado where the dorsal fin becomes the lunate tail, and you confidently hold that 49 lb fish up for your photo moment. That struggle is worth a picture-perfect snapshot. But nothing is worse than looking like you’re struggling to hold the fish, or your photographer thinks they did a good job, but the photo’s quality and framing are unflattering or on the amateur level. Focus your attention on the fish, take snapshots with different angles, keep the frame tight, snap your photo when the fish is fresh (they lose their bright pigmented color quickly after death), and look strong and confident when holding your fish.
Other struggles the anglers face is falling into the water, having to wake up early, cold fingers, dropping your anchor without it being tied down, not owning a boat, or having friends who don’t like to fish. There aren’t good days without the bad; fishermen catch a lot of carp. I mean, crap. But we do it because we love to fish.