Editor’s Log: Facebook Fishing Wars - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Facebook Fishing Wars

Most of us have a Facebook page these days, and for those of you who don’t, I commend you for holding out to the modern-day temptations of creating one. Yeah, I do have a Facebook account. I think it’s nice to share pictures and stay in contact with family and friends, and what I find myself doing most often is browsing the marketplace for old boats with 2-stroke motors on the back and old trucks that will only cause me headaches that I probably don’t need but imagine myself having. Now, I’m pretty sure Facebook was not intended to be used in a negative way, but of course, with these pros, the cons will always be there too. And with a public platform with pretty much free reign for the most part, anyone can just about say anything.

One of the things that I followed along with are several of these “Facebook groups” that are local to Long Island fishing or within the region. I won’t name any of these groups specifically, but some have several thousand members, and within seconds, anybody could make a post or comment. There is nothing wrong with sharing a great catch, first catch, etc., but sometimes opinions and thoughts are shared on these groups, and sometimes the advice given or information put out there could be unhealthy for the fishing community and give those who are new to the sport bad knowledge that might tick off those who have been doing this for years.

Some recent events came about within the Long Island fishing community, and again, I won’t unveil the details out of respect to those involved, but the bottom line is, before the days of Facebook groups and forums, the altercation that took place or any for that matter would have just faded away within a day without the instigation and prodding that occurred on some of these pages. Some people like to sit back with popcorn and watch these things unfold, and while it might be some cheap entertainment at the moment, it’s really unhealthy for the community as a whole and makes the entire situation worse sometimes. It also will give certain groups a bad reputation amongst others. I’ve watched people called out online, others chirp in who weren’t even involved, and just slandering that isn’t necessary. Remember, the island isn’t that big in reality, and we share a lot of these spots with fellow fishermen day after day. A lot of us know each other, and chances are we’ll all cross paths more than once.

My advice is to shake hands, move on, and respect one another. We’re all doing the same thing here. It’s not like one person is fishing, and the other is trying to do a completely different type of activity. We’re all anglers here doing what we’re doing for similar reasons. We have that common ground, and we should respect each other for it.

I’m a firm believer in having freedom of speech, but please, if you don’t know enough about something to write a full article on it, don’t insert a couple of sentences on a Facebook forum or group that could potentially lead someone in the wrong direction. Respect others out there and be an example to others instead of just another topic for the keyboard warriors to write about. I can’t tell you the last time I read about someone watching another help a novice get their start in fishing, but I could certainly form a list of the times when I saw fuel added to the fire and fights break out online over stuff that could be prevented. Be a good steward and set a proper example for others, especially if you plan on doing this for years to come.

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