Al Campbell, Field Editor

October 15th, 2001

By Al Campbell

It isn't too hard to imagine a place where fishing is banned. Groups like PETA imagine it all the time. And, the possibility of a future ban looms ever possible if we continue the way we are. The problem is our attitude.

How many times have you discovered trash on a stream bank but didn't take the time to pick it up? How many times have you discovered a fellow fisherman breaking the law and didn't take the time to turn him/her in? Just as bad, how many times have you or someone you know fought a fish to total exhaustion then didn't take the time to properly revive it, so it died as a result of your or their actions or maybe lack of action?

Fishing is a privilege we enjoy, but it's ours only if we protect the sport. There are groups who want to end this privilege and congressmen who support them. Those who trash the environment or break the law in the name of fishing are our worst enemies and threaten our chances to continue to enjoy this sport.

Do you make sure your congressmen know how important this sport is to you? Have you told them your vote is swayed by their support or lack of support of the sports you enjoy? Do they know your thoughts at all? Maybe it's time you told them how you feel?

Think about it for a moment; what will you do when your fishing privilege is gone? It isn't hard to imagine that possibility if you can recall the scandal involving the US Fish & Wildlife Service a few years back when your tax dollars were diverted from fishing programs into the coffers of several anti-hunting and anti-fishing groups. Like I said, there are some in Washington who would like to see your fishing privileges revoked, stopped, ended.

I guess what I'm trying to say is; "Don't be a slob!" Protect your fishing heritage by contacting those people who make decisions about its future. Pick up after yourself and others if needed. Consider the value of the fish you are playing and preserve its ability to revive and survive by the way you bring it to the net and handle it afterwards. Don't give the anti-fishing groups a reason to criticize the way you conduct yourself while fishing.

The sport is only ours to enjoy as long as we protect it and care for it the way we would something we treasure. If we don't, someone out there is ready and willing to take it away. Whether you're willing to do something about it is a matter of attitude. ~ AC

For a 'fast-forward' on the subject see: Rose Garden

Previous Al Campell Columns
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