Before coming back to work at The Fisherman Magazine, I was working at a high-end tackle shop. I really enjoyed working there because I got to meet so many anglers and this opportunity shined a light on just how far-reaching the sport of fishing really is. We had wealthy professional sailors, we had landscapers, we saw stock brokers and we saw people who actually lived out of their vehicles because their obsession with fishing was so strong that they literally did nothing else. It wasn’t hard for me to relate to any of these people, not at all. I have lived all their lives in one way or another, the results may vary, but the starting point is always the same.
Obsessive people are wired a little differently. I think we’re wired to build stress and then find a way to release it. We’re adrenalin junkies who could probably use a life coach. And much of that stress we build up and collect in our clenched teeth and pounding hearts is invented by us. If the wind and tide line up for a sure thing hit and you have to take your kid to the dentist that morning, it all goes into that stress hopper. Your friend calls and tells you that you missed an epic bite last night, shovel into the hopper. These things build up and can even change your personality until you find a way to release them. I know this is true because my wife tells me it is.
Unfortunately for her and for my poor heart, I have many obsessions and they all center around anticipation and the release of experience. Fishing, seeing live music, collecting Native American artifacts…it’s all the same. The parallels between these and a gambling addiction are too numerous to count and too embarrassing to list.
One of the customers that used to come in pretty regularly, especially during the albie run, was this guy named Doug. He was super friendly guy and would pour a lot of time and money into chasing albies from shore. It was easy to see that this guy had it bad, he had all the warning signs. One day he pulled up and I happened to be near the front window and I saw his license plate, it spelled out “GUITAR PICKS”. I had to know more. When he came in, I called him over and asked about his vanity plate. It was as if I freed up a log jam that was holding back Niagara Falls. Doug was a professional guitar pick collector and seller, his only job was buying and selling picks held by famous musicians. In that moment, all the tumblers fell into place—obsessive people live for the chase and the euphoria that comes from getting what they’re after. It’s that release of endorphins in our brains that imprints us upon these quests and drives us to continue to pursue them.
Just this morning, I went out for some albie fishing before work and pulled up right behind a truck with a familiar license plate. When I took my position along the rocks, I saw Doug’s silhouette 50 feet to my right, “Have you found me a Trey Anastasio guitar pick yet?” I called over. Trey is my favorite guitarist. He laughed and came over. For the next couple hours we talked as if we were old friends and even enjoyed a double hook-up, his an albie, mine a bonito. Which brings me to the last thing an obsessive person craves, an audience. If we find someone that wants to know more about one of those things that gives us a reason to wake up in the morning, we’ll talk until they literally decay into dust. But when two obsessive people engage in conversation, the end is never near.
And speaking of an audience, if you’d like to sit and listen to me blabbering on about surfcasting, don’t miss The Fisherman’s Surf & Inshore Show slated for September 21 at the Huntington Hilton on Long Island. You can find all the important information by CLICKING HERE.