Logic vs Instinct
Now - allow me to step up on my soapbox for a moment. I was surprised one Thursday morning, several months ago, to access my on-line subscription to The Citrus Chronicle in order to read RG's Tight Lines column for the week before heading out to work, only to find the space had been given to a local guide. As I read the words in print I expected to learn that RG was on vacation or some other temporary hiatus that necessitated a short-term replacement. Instead I read a vague fishing report that sounded more like a column sized advertisement for his guide service. I contacted RG for an explanation and I was shocked to hear his news. Those who make the decisions for the Chronicle content felt they could cut costs and save a buck by cutting RG out of the picture and replacing his long standing and informative column with some free guide advertising and a sentence or two disguised as a "report". The loyal readers of RG's column aren't stupid. It didn't take us long to figure out what was going on and we revolted. I personally cancelled my subscription and I know many followed suite. I know this site doesn't get a great deal of exposure, but for those who are reading it now - you need to know why his column was replaced. So....there you have it - my personal opinion - and I will now step down from my soapbox!
After all of this - RG still possesses his desire to teach anyone willing to learn. He agreed to be our guest speaker for the June topic of Setting the Reel Drag and Boating a Fish...
He gave us a brief and humorous self-introduction that started with his upbringing. We enjoyed listening to the story he told us about being raised in Tennessee by his aunt and uncle and how they managed to keep an eye on him when they went fishing together. Seems they would tie one end of a light-weight rope to a nearby tree and the other end would be tied to him (sort of a make-shift leash, if you will) giving him just enough slack to reach the water's edge...cane pole in hand. Not sure if a parent would get away with that in this day and age, but it served its purpose back then. He recalled spending his childhood fishing and its been a passion of his ever since.
He's been writing about the outdoors in general (recreation, fishing, hunting, environment, ecology etc.) for the past 35 years. He also taught an Ecology course at Indian River Community College in St. Lucie County back when it was a two-year community college. It has since turned into a four-year university.
At one point in his life, he was writing three columns per week for the same newspaper. One column focusing on the outdoors, a second more politically focused column, and a third on Ecology where he attempted to educate the public on a frequently misused term called "the chain of life". He wanted people to understand that the term is really not a accurate analogy for what it's supposed to represent. All that our ecology encompasses would be best described in terms of a 'web'...not a 'chain'.
Tuning into Televised Fishing Shows
Trout, on another note, migrate from the mangrove nursery to the sea grass meadows. That's their safety zone. Their instinct is to try and hide in the grass and 'fight-it-out' doing everything within its power to shake that aggravating hook out of it's mouth. They're pretty successful at it, too.
Redfish don't have a specific 'safety zone' really. Although they will dash into a mangrove root system to take cover if it's within reach. Their primary reaction to being hooked, however, is to run....run, run, run as far and as fast as they can. The first run of a redfish will usually be the most powerful.
So don't think all of these fish-fighting strategies are a conscience decision on the part of the fish. It's their instinct and their natural defense mechanisms taking over.