Editor’s Log: Call Me Old Fashioned… - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Call Me Old Fashioned…

Yesterday my buddy Tom Kosinski from New Jersey was headed through my area on his way to Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend of albie fishing. I met Tom more than a decade ago through our mutual friend DJ Muller and he has become one my best and most trusted friends. Over the years we have enjoyed many tides together from the surf and on his boat. Tom has always been there for me during the winter shows, any time I ask him, he’s there to help man the table or whatever I need. And he and his wife Martha (and young daughter Maddy) have welcomed me into their home on many occasions for fishing trips or winter shows – they feel like family to me.

On this trip, Tom fished through – pretty much – all of Rhode Island on his way north, hitting spots from Watch Hill to the West Wall and then crossing the bridges and fishing the shores of Aquidneck Island as well. After finally landing on some decent action in Newport he called and asked if I wanted to fish the area after dark. Just after dinner I packed up and drove the hour down to Brenton Point State Park to fish with my friend.

Tom was already on one of the rocky outcrops while I was driving there and he texted me something to effect of, “Looks like the circus is in town”. I knew that message couldn’t be a good thing and I figured it meant things were getting crowded. When I pulled into the lot, I texted Tom and asked if I should come down and join the circus, he responded, “I’ll come up and meet you, instead.”

In the 15 minutes between his last text and my arrival, Tom was squeezed out of his spot by SEVEN other anglers. They were on a spot that couldn’t support more than three. Tom and I walked the entire length of that piece of juicy shoreline and there was at least one person on every other spot.

Call me old fashioned, but as far as I’m concerned those anglers on all those other points earned the right to fish them by being the first one to stand on them for the night. I have too much pride to invade, what I consider to be, someone else’s territory just so I can fish too. I’ve had more than a handful of guys say something like, “You don’t own the ocean” when I gave them a hard time about crowding me and while that is absolutely true, it doesn’t override the fact that there was simply not enough room for more than X number of people to fish comfortably and effectively.

These factors are all real and valid, but the one that stands out ahead of all the others is that, if I am not the first guy to set foot on the spot and there’s no room nearby… and I still have to force myself into the situation, what does that say about me? The first thing it says about me is that I don’t have any other options – this is the only place I know where I can fish. It also sends the message that I don’t care about anyone else or their enjoyment, I only care about mine. Neither of those things are true.

Somehow we’ve lost our grip on the etiquette of surfcasting. There’s very little dignity left in this sport, because everyone wants to catch and very few seem to want anything more from it than that. This is the attitude that has brought this new breed of surfcaster into the mainstream – the guy that just doesn’t care how many casters are on a spot and believes that he is entitled to shoehorn himself in anywhere he pleases.

As a surfcaster that has always tried to carry myself with dignity and who has always been willing to walk away from a good spot because I wasn’t there first, I find this sad and embarrassing. As a community, I think we’re better than this and if this editorial changes even one mind out there, it was worth it. Be better to your brothers and sisters in the surf.

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