Guest Editor’s Log: Social Media Awareness - The Fisherman

Guest Editor’s Log: Social Media Awareness

As fall is among us and, the season has kicked off. I understand that what I’m about to say might not resonate with everyone, and if it doesn’t, it probably wasn’t meant for you. However, for those dedicated anglers out there looking to explore new fishing spots who diligently put in the time and effort to scout locations, I hope you find value in these words. My hope is to not only provide insights but also encourage you to protect your newfound fishing spots for years to come.

In all my years in the fishing scene, discovering fresh fishing spots has always been essential. Yet, it can be challenging due to the secretive nature of many anglers. As my friend Billy the Greek once said, “We wouldn’t even tell our own mothers where we were catching fish.” And to be honest, that sentiment still holds true today.

When you stumble upon a hot fishing spot purely through your hard work, pattern recognition, and referencing past experiences, coupled with your genuine love for the sport, it’s truly a remarkable feeling. Unfortunately, such discoveries are often kept hush-hush within the fishing community until the bite has slowed down or the frenzy has passed. Billy also mentioned something that stuck with me: “I never chased the fish; I don’t rely on bite reports. I’ve always been the one discovering the bite.” No shade or shots fired on anyone who tunes into bite reports; not everyone can be out there all the time, and some anglers have limited time, making it easier for them to go where others have had success.

Sometimes, my own outings are like that – I don’t always have all day or all night to fish. However, I can say with confidence that these outings never compare to the ones where I found myself reeling in quality fish in the 20- to 30-pound class, with some larger slobs mixed in, thanks to my own efforts and expertise. These are the moments that truly stand out and are the most rewarding.

For new anglers who are just starting out in the surfcasting game and are excited to share their fishing experiences, it’s crucial to be mindful of the attention they attract through social media platforms like Instagram reels, TikTok, or YouTube. While it’s wonderful to see newcomers embrace the sport, what they may not realize is the impact of openly revealing their prized fishing spots. Instantly broadcasting their successes triggers a dopamine rush from the likes and views they receive, which can lead to the temptation to share more and more. They’ll notice while the views rise, the number of likes does not because their peers, those true diehard fishermen, will never appreciate a spot burn. They’ll share amongst their circle of fishermen where fish were biting, thanks to the video. The likes and views certainly are the wrong thing to chase; chase the fish – the recognition you seek will come with time through hard work and dedication. It’s essential to refrain from revealing landmarks in the background that can give away your location. By doing so, you can avoid attracting crowds and protect the integrity of these spots, let alone your reputation.

In recent years, I’ve witnessed the fishing community flourish, which is a beautiful sight. However, I’ve also noticed that popular fishing locations have become littered with trash as a result of these publicized fishing spots, and crowds appear that do not follow DEC regulations and try to harvest anything they catch. Sharing these hotspots with the world can sometimes attract individuals who don’t share our passion for maintaining the cleanliness and sanctity of these places. It’s so important now more than ever to protect our fishery. It’s crucial to lead by example – call out those who take shorts, over-slots, and litter, and you can try to clean up trash on your way out if you have a free hand to grab even just one item.

As someone who loves this sport and wishes to see others thrive, I offer this advice to new anglers: keep your backgrounds clear of landmarks, share pictures that focus on you and the fish, angle your camera downward, and take your picture with the ocean or beach behind you.

Finding a new fishing spot involves extensive planning and research, considering factors like weather, tides, and past logs. It’s a strategic endeavor that requires dedication and hard work. When you put in the effort and finally discover a promising spot, it would be disheartening for someone to pinpoint your location and draw a crowd to the spot you worked so hard to find.

In a world where instant gratification is increasingly prevalent, let’s remember that the best rewards come to those who work for them. Just as “trophies for everyone” have led to a generation sensitive to constructive criticism, openly sharing fishing spots can diminish the value of hard-earned success. I encourage the new generation of anglers to share their passion responsibly, protect their fishing spots, and earn the respect of their peers through dedication and effort.

As our community continues to grow, let’s ensure it thrives while preserving the beauty of our natural environments. Tight lines to you all, and may the bite be with you.

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