Brown: Plenty of types of fish, motivations for anglers | Sports

Brown: Plenty of types of fish, motivations for anglers | Sports

Fishing means different things to each person who wets a line.

To some, it’s as simple as sitting on a bucket, dipping a minnow along a farm pond. To others, it’s enjoying time on the water with family, where catching is nice but not as important as the experience. To others, fishing is about personal bests, tournaments and competing.

Some are a mix of all of the above, but rest assured, there is something special for the human psyche about being on and around the water.

We joke often about sunset pictures being the replacement for catching, but the aesthetics of that exact place in time also means something. Fishing is America’s pastime, and it doesn’t matter your age, sex or how often you get to go, there is a special feeling we all get by making that cast and hoping for the big one.

Fishing is magical — it makes the old young and puts smiles on those who participate each time out whether it’s the best day or a bad one.

Those who search for the personal best each time out are a special breed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bass, crappie, bluegill or catfish, those who chase that allusive big one just have special insides that keeps them up at night.

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When we had a large group of bass anglers who dedicated their lives to catching the world record, I saw that attitude in spades. Many of them gave up everything to try to be on the best lakes at the best times no matter what else they missed. It was much more than fishing — it was life and it truly became an illness.

The search was everything and a lot of the largest fish ever caught were caught during that time. Many over 18 pounds were caught and there was even a 22.4 bass caught in Japan, tying the world record. But none have ever beaten it.

Every lake has “ghosts” that are the biggest fish in that particular pond, rarely seen, and many are caught by accident. Those that target that ghost and end up catching it are folks I have a high regard for. Tournament anglers are not notorious trophy hunters, but there are just a few guys who earn legendary big fish catching status with routine big fish catches over and over again. It’s not by accident that that happens.

In the last few years, it seems catfish have become more of a target fish. It used to be folks fished for catfish in local ponds and lakes for a meal, but today catfish anglers are seeing competition as part of the equation and the weigh-ins are worth attending.

Monster catfish are becoming a regular occurrence, and 60- to 70-pounders have become more of a regular occurrence, and boy do they fight. You have to have the right tools and equipment to hook and land them, and also all of our lakes and rivers team with them.

Crappie fishing has gained popularity in recent years and they are not only great to eat but fun to chase, too. It wasn’t long ago that guiding for crappie was unheard of, but today some of the best anglers on the lake target crappie and they are a great family fish, too.

Recently, guides have even moved to pontoon boats for family outings and they are both comfortable and allow for anglers to move around freely in the boat. Two pound crappie used to be unheard of, but recently more and more are being caught pushing that size, even on heavily pressured public waters. New techniques and new electronics have made finding the tasty slabs easier to find and catch. Anglers will travel large distances to catch those personal best crappies.

Bluegill have rebounded in recent years, too, and musky and hybrid stripers are at the top of the food chain for anglers looking for a once-in-a-lifetime tug of the line. No doubt we have more multi-species anglers than ever before and I applaud all of them. Fishing is fun but catching is where its at.

Old reliable bass fishing seems to be getting better, too, and is also finding our lakes with more of the giants seen in more southern climates. For example, last weekend local angler Ryan Robinson caught a bass weighing 8.22 pounds at Lake Springfield. Great job Ryan.

Local angler Ryan Robinson caught a bass weighing 8.22 pounds at Lake Springfield.

Local lakes like Banner Marsh, Sanchris and Newton have a reputation for producing giant largemouth, too, and aren’t too far away to enjoy a day long trip.

Searching and catching your personal best of any species takes time and knowing the environment they frequent. It takes much more than luck to be consistent at catching large fish. The time is getting right for getting on the water and putting the PB in the record books.

Terry Brown tighter crop

Terry Brown