Editor’s Log: Ahern’s 10 Commandments Of Fishing - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Ahern’s 10 Commandments Of Fishing

  1. Thou shalt help thy fellow fisherman. To some fishermen this kindness is ingrained. They would think no more of turning their backs on a fellow fisherman in need than they would on a lost child. The full enjoyment of our sport can only be received by those of us who give the full measure of ourselves. There is not one good fisherman I know who plays it close to the vest. Selfishness has no place in the sport fishing game. Help those in need, and as surely as the sun’s rising in the east you will be helped in turn. There is always someone who knows more – and we certainly need all the aid we can get.
  1. Thou shalt not be greedy. In other words, let us not be fish hogs. Sure, we want to catch more fish, and sure we never seem to catch as many fish as we wish to~-most times. But there are days when we can do nothing wrong and those fish seem to jump into buckets with little bidding our on our part. When this happens (and it will), that’s the time to take stock. Perhaps the fishing gods are testing us (I sometimes think so). Therefore, let the rule be: Take what you want, but want what you take.
  1. Thou shalt not be a know-it-all. No one enjoys listening to a self-centered individual, be the fisherman, or whatever. The good fisherman, the one who truly knows, always keeps a low profile. He needs no brass band to call attention to his exploits, for his results speak for themselves. He knows that fish knowledge, not the latest in the tackle-maker’s art, is all that’s required to put fish in his bucket.
  1. Thou shalt not be a braggart. This fault is most obnoxious of all. I suppose those fishermen who rely on braggadocio to call attention to themselves deserve our sympathy. But they don’t get it–and never shall. They may succeed in charming those beginners in our ranks-but not for long. Better those poor fellows devote time to improving needed skills than expend untold energy in self-praise. And you know what is said of self-praise.
  1. Thou shalt encourage young fishermen. This is one of the most important Commandments. Deny not the youngster who shows interest in our sport. You may rest assured that should we do so, there are vultures waiting in the wings to take over. We foster a great disservice to our Country when we tell fish-oriented youngsters to “Get lost!” As the twig is bent.
  1. Thou shalt experiment. l’ve found few things make us better at the fishing game than experimenting. All those proven fishing methods we now use are the result of someone’s experimentation in the long ago. They have stood the test of time. But – and this is a big “but,” don’t expect to meet with success every time out. Remember: no one knows all there is to know about fishing. But failure should only ensure more experimenting in the same vein, which in turn produces more elaborate experiments – and eventually – bingo! Jack-pot! Experiment, experiment, and then experiment some more. Let the motto of the sinker bouncer be: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  1. Thou shalt learn terminal tackle. What hardware to use, when to use it, and when not to use it can make or break your day. Should you, or should you not, use a three-way swivel when fluke fishing, or a cross-line swivel when codfishing? Or should neither be used? What are the advantages of a bank sinker over a diamond sinker, let’s say, and when are the best times to use these? You may be certain crackerjack fishermen know.
  1. Thou shalt know fishhooks. The good fisherman has much interest in fish hooks. He knows exactly what. He knows exactly what type to use for the fish he seeks. He knows which will better do the job under exacting conditions. This knowledge has taken much time to learn-it didn’t come easy; not by a long shot. But it can be learned and as soon as this acquirement of knowledge is undertaken, the better.
  1. Thou shalt learn how to snell hooks and make rigs. This knowledge is most important, especially for those fishermen who experiment as a way of life. Not only will they gain monetarily, but by designing rigs and tying hooks to various snell lengths, they are always one up on those brethren who rely on commercially-tied rigs and hooks. These homemade rigs are often the very ones that do a job on the fish. Take mackerel trees, for instance. My buddies and used mackerel trees years before they became acceptable on the commercial market.
  1. Thou shalt be of good cheer. I have left this till last because of its importance to the overall fishing scene. Don’t be a Gloomy Gus. It isn’t easy becoming a good fisherman – the road is oft paved with pitfalls. It isn’t easy to go out there and endure wet fannies, cold unexpected winds, and whatever else our TV rating-happy weather persons overlooked telling you as they giggled and shouted foolishly to gain your attention, plus those normally disappointing days we all fall heir to and still come up smiling. No, it isn’t easy. In fact, it would be asinine to ask this of any fisherman, be he beginner or crusty old salt. But good fishermen have learned to take it all in stride. There is no room for perpetual gloom on the fishing scene.


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