The Online Hook-Up
How many of you have heard this from your significant other–how do you know they’re not a mass murderer? Are you seeing someone else? Do you have something you need to tell me? These are familiar questions for anglers who use online forums or social media pages to meet and fish with other anglers. What did we do before we could just pick up our phones or tablets and have the fishing world by the tail?
Younger anglers don't realize how easy fishing life is for them. Back in the day, there were limited outlets to learn about fishing. If you didn’t have friends or family to teach you, you could join one of the finite number of fishing clubs available. Many wannabe anglers flailed and learned by trial and error. Who knows how many individuals lost interest in fishing due to the lack of informational resources?
Tampa Bay was fortunate to have resources not available to other Floridians. Frank Sargeant, the Tampa Tribune's outdoor columnist and author, was a great asset to anglers in our area. Captain Mel Berman, with that deep, rich voice, was our go-to radio angler aficionado. He was also instrumental in building one of Florida's first and largest fishing websites and forums. The ever-entertaining Glen Pla of “The Average Angler” television show gave us something to look forward to on a weekly basis. His humorous and educational approach to fishing was quirky and unique.
The advent of fishing forums, social media clubs, and video platforms has changed the face of fishing forever. With little effort, all of our fishing questions can now be answered within minutes. At any time we can go online and discover new techniques, new locations, and new fishing buddies. The computer age has allowed fishing equipment and apparel manufacturers to flourish through advertising and sponsorships. We don't think twice about purchasing equipment from places as far away as Japan, New Zealand, or other countries.
The face of fishing tournaments has also evolved, be they boating, kayaking, or land-based. Anything from small forum competitions to online tournaments with thousands of participants is available to any angler hungry for competition. Sponsorships have allowed otherwise unknown anglers to become our heroes and mentors. Budding writers and photographers now have an outlet to be recognized for their outstanding work. Everyone has the opportunity to show off their latest catch and do their own fishing reports.
Availability of educational information has helped greatly to keep our sport healthy. Rules, regulations, and licenses can be accessed in minutes, helping to preserve fishing for generations to come. Sure, there will always be individuals who miss the good old days, but those days are long past and fishing continues to advance and evolve, due in part to the online hook-up.
Published by Guy Harvey The Online Fisherman Magazine May 2016