August 25, 2011

Guest Post - Spurky on "Numbers"

Spurky is back today with another guest post.  Today's topic is numbers.  No, he's not a mathematician or a bad CBS drama, he's actually talking about the number of fish caught.  To some they mean everything, to others they're inconsequential. 

What is it about the fetish with numbers when talking about fishing, especially on computer chat rooms & forums?

I catch more fish than you do

Now I am a fair trout fisherman, and do okay on the multi-species front, so why would I care about someone who continually claims up to 100 fish a day?

I even admit zero fish days, which is death on forum boards, but if you've got zero and not triple digits in some forums you stink.  I guess ego is what some need to survive in the fishing room behind the computer screen.

I know of a few posters who always seems to claim mega amounts of fish caught in a single day, some on just a single lure - but gee no pictures, or 10 pics of the same fish at different angles.

Some of us live in populated areas with heavy fishing pressure and water sports during spring through fall, so cut me/us a break. It seems that most of these number whores fish alone (hmmmm), and when asked where or if anyone can come along, they get all selfish and say,"no, that's my secret fishing hole".

Silly me, I take anyone who wants to tag along with, I like to fish with friends to learn new things - amazing how many ways you can snag a tree  :)

Maybe I am an old fuddy-duddy, but fishing to me is not a numbers game to prove one's stature, but rather an escape from the real world, and at times a battle of wits (so to speak) in hard-fished waters.

I guess it is just a ego thing that I have to learn to put up with.


What are your thoughts on numbers...or heck...even fishing forums? 

Is catching a ton of fish essential to a fun day on the water?  
Do you think less of the angler that meets the skunk, or the one quick to highlight his or her awesomeness?
Is an 8 inch fish the equal of an 18 inch fish?  

Your thoughts are welcomed in the comments below.


  1. sweet post.. and good questions.. fish numbers will never hold a candle to just being out away from people floating in a boat or hiking down a creek.. numbers don't mean much. (especially important since I suck at catching)

  2. Who cares about numbers! I ask my self at the end of any fishing trip, 0 fish or 30 fish, did I enjoy myself? That's all that matters. For that matter you can even thrown in size of a fish too. I usually get more enjoyment out of catching 5-10" brook trout in a small woodland stream than 30" striped bass in Long Island Sound. Sometimes a buddy catching the smallest fish on a trip can provides years of laughs from busting his chops about it.

  3. I think numbers matter a great deal... or maybe I should say number. For one fish is all we need to get out the door and on the water. We all enjoy getting away and going fishing, but if we never caught anything we would just be hikers or boaters and not fishermen. I like catching lots of fish and I enjoy catching big fish, but generally, one fish is all I need for my day to be good. And one fish is all you need for one more cast.

  4. I'd rather an 8" wild brown that I hiked in 5 miles to cast to, rather than an 18" from crowded tailwaters that everyone fishes. Numbers & size....neither matters to me.

  5. Spurky is a wise man.

    No one likes a bragger, especially the guy who quickly tells you about all of his success after you have just discussed your latest failing. Numbers don't mean a whole lot...It, to me, is more about the chase than the result. Size to me is all about perspective, and it really depends on the water you are fishing. I am more happy with a 15" Poudre brown, than an 18" South Platte rainbow. Or, I am more happy catching a cutthroat that is 6" than a 12" whatever out of the same water.

    ...thanks for making me think this morning...ha!

  6. One or more nice keepers destined for the smoker or dinner table is better for me than the numbers game. If someone has a problem with me admitting I get skunked, that is their problem, not mine.

  7. Thanks for the feedback! Appreciate it! I take alot of abuse from certain people on a fishing forum,when I get into the numbers argument. Usually get erased as being abusive. Numbers to me are only worth talking about is when picking a guide,AFTER,his/her persona,boat,etc....Rather get 1 fish with a fun guide than 20 with an assherl guide. Just ask T! and my guiding,fun but just ok results. Though he is good at getting tree fish!

  8. Nice Job, Spurky! I'm not a numbers player either, at all. As I look back on fishing trips and experiences, I recall the setting more, the big picture.

    Sky cover, air temperature, calm or windy, water color and clarity, density of the woods and brush, any poisonous plants, snakes, gravel or sandy bottom, mud or rock bottom, Big Rocks, undercut banks, current, out here in the West, how steep was the bank getting down to the water, lol.

    Total relaxation, and lots to scrub the problems out of your brain, without counting fish.

  9. @spurky
    Hey, check that out...people actually like ya Spurky - the wonders never cease!

  10. shush,my grumpy image is going to get tarnished!

  11. I look down into my hand that is holding my only catch of the day...a 7 in brookie and say, "awesome colors"! Maybe I'm a simple person, but enjoying the moment of the catch instead of remembering how many are being caught is so much more fun for me. That Spurky is a smart dude.

  12. I can't remember where I heard this, but I think it was some fishing related video... The evolution of a fisherperson is this: First a fisherman tries to catch the most fish. Then they seek the biggest fish. Lastly they search for the everlasting fish. The "everlasting fish" is passing on fishing to other generations either through conservation or sharing fishing with others.

    I'm sure it was a TU or similar group, but I think there is truth to the different "maturity" of an angler. It probably progresses at different rates for each individual. Or maybe I just botched the quote and it really is all about numbers and size :)

    Great post!

  13. I think that's spot on d.nash. I was into numbers when I first began fly fishing. Guess I thought in some weird way catching a lot of fish "validated" me as an angler. Kinda stupid now that I think about it.

    Of course now I fly fish mainly for carp, so numbers don't come into play at all. A good skunking is a perfectly respectable day on the carp flats.

  14. If you cast enough times to where the fish live you'll eventually catch a lot of fish. Then, sometimes not. I talk about both with pride.

    Since I'm OCD, I count caught and missed. I also count stairs when I climb them. Sometimes the number of steps to my car. I'm used to it.

    Size never matters. You won't hear that out of too many other smallmouth bass anglers.

    I fish alone 98 percent of the time. Makes the decision of fishing over here or over there much easier.

    And finally, I now drive the other bass guys nuts by cradling dink smallies in my hand and taking pictures of them. Learned that from you trout bums.

  15. I will admit, I think I'm regressing. I started with a 3wt & was happy wet wading & (trying) to catch fish in small streams. I am not, and never was, one for numbers, but I now get into dark periods of prolonged fishless outings I refer to as "The Skunkenings." These bum me out after 4-5 in a row.

    The Skunkening is due my regression into targeting fish for the size factor. Like stripers, muskies & Atlantic salmon at home. And wanting to catch tarpon. And sailfish. And mako sharks. And steelhead. And pike.

    If you disregard my addictive personality, the blame for this ultimately lies with BP & their oil spill. If it weren't for the spill, I would never have paid attention to various fly fishing magazines discussion the potential impact on Gulf fisheries. I never would have discovered what this so-called "redfish" is. I never would have youtube'd "fly fishing redfish." I would never have booked a spur of the moment trip to catch them.

    But I did. And the sound of my reel screaming, the feeling of the line burning my thumb & the site of my backing has haunted me ever since.

    So numbers aren't important. Forums aren't important. The sensory overload of hooking & landing fish is what's important. Plus that whole out in nature, away from crowds thing, of course.

    Maybe when I get older I'll go back to wandering around little streams with my 3wt.

    So screw you, BP. And in a twisted way, thank you

  16. Good questions. Honestly, there's probably been a time in all of our lives when numbers mattered. When I was a kid, I would totally exaggerate inches and total catch to impress my friends. Though I nipped that in the bud a while back when my dad called me out one day, still, I think I would be lying if I said some amount of numbers don't matter to me. Think about the last time you were fishing and you caught a small one and a large one. How fast did you toss back that small one, versus how hard it was to stop staring at that monster? That being said, anytime I hear someone give an exact inches measurement or an exact number of fish caught in the fly shop, a red flag goes up. Not because I don't think that person didn't have as good a time on the water as I do, but because they look at it from a more shallow level. It shouldn't be about numbers, but to some degree it is, to all of us. Nobody wants to go out and get skunked. The difference lies in the thoughts and reactions of those who do get handed an egg from time to time. Many, like myself, on getting skunked will go home thinking about that gigantic golden eagle I saw in the canyon or that brilliantly collared lizard basking on the rocks. Some, unfortunately, will not have noticed these things and return to lie about their catches to make themselves feel better. To me, that's the difference.