Please don’t be offended by what I write here. I really do prefer to be by myself when I am fishing. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of others; it’s not that I am trying to keep something secret; I will try to explain though. My fishing trips can sometimes be what some might describe as unorthodox. At least they seem that way to me, being that I fish alone most of the time I may just not realize that what I do is very similar to others. I fish in places that I very seldom even see other people, I am heading home many times while others are just getting started, I spend many hours with little to nothing in the way of a catch to show for it. I guess this is one big reason for not taking others with me, if I take them I feel obligated for them to be successful, I can’t guarantee that. Is it possible that others are like me? If I am not successful this trip, well that’s ok I will be on the next one, or at least that’s what I convince myself of. So when I arrive at the house I change leaders and I clean my stuff because I’ve got to be ready to go next trip.
Now some people hear of my occasional successes and they say, wow! I would love to go with you. If I agree and take them and then we can’t find any fish, or their skill set is such that they just can’t figure it out, now a different story will be told. I don’t think its arrogance or pride; I think it’s just a matter of keeping things simple the way I like it. When I fish alone I answer to me, I get frustrated with me, I tell myself I should have tied that knot a little slower and it wouldn’t have pulled out, I just smile when the automatic release occurs at the side of the boat, and if the bail closes mid cast, no worries, no one saw it happen.
Over the past year I have indeed found some people who must be a little bit like me. Not that they like to fish alone, but they seem to have the same passion for the type of fishing I enjoy. They don’t seem to be overly affected by less than pleasurable parts of an inshore fishing trip, particularly from a kayak. Things like, mud, heat, cold, wet, inhaling bugs, being bitten by bugs, bugs in general, and of course yellow flies (yellow flies are in my opinion in a league of their own separate of bugs). In fact these people enjoy what they do so much that they too begin speaking of the next outing even prior to completing the one they are on. I do not know if they prefer to fish alone as I have only been fishing with them when someone is with them, and I have never asked them if they prefer to fish alone.
Fishing alone is likely to cause some problems and likely to help in avoiding others. If you get hurt when your alone you have to take care of yourself. If you get lonely when you’re fishing by yourself you just have to deal with it. If you see an incredible eagle sitting in a dead tree when you are fishing alone you have only yourself to talk to about how majestic it is. If a shark swims close enough to you that you can reach out and touch as it goes by when your fishing alone….maybe you should think twice about this one. When you are fishing alone and you paddle over top of a huge southern stingray you don’t see how big your eyes get, but you do think of how happy you are that you are not wade fishing at that particular moment. When you are fishing alone and you came sparsely prepared in the way of food and beverage, well again, you’re just going hungry. Likely at this point you can add to the list of pros and cons of fishing alone.
In my opinion what I hear is often most enlightening while I am fishing and so this is probably one of the greatest reasons I enjoy fishing alone. While I enjoy conversation, particularly on matters of interest to me, I don’t hear as much of what’s happening around me if I am involved in conversation. I particularly enjoy the call of a mother Osprey, once I see her I always look for her young one, she is so protective and watchful. My all time favorite though, has to be when the fish are ambushing bait in shallow water, it’s the same sound when they crash our top water lure, but different in the feelings it illicit. Fish crashing bait evokes the hunt, fish crashing the lure causes a mixture of adrenaline and concentration, the wrong movement on our part may simply pull a lure from a willing participant’s mouth. Have you ever been startled by the call of a heron that is just on the other side of the grass from you? If someone had been with me and we had been talking and laughing, it probably would have departed long before we got that close. Anyway, the sounds, I do enjoy the sounds when I am fishing alone.
As I conclude this my hope is that I have not alienated myself from those that enjoy the alternative, fishing with others. I really do enjoy every moment of fishing with like-minded ones because I can get the best of worlds, camaraderie and privacy, and I know they will be ok with that. We may push off together at the landing, we may spend some time side by side, and we may go completely opposite directions, but we will meet back later and talk and laugh and show our photos, and I will tell how big the one that got away was. But quite likely the majority of my fishing trips, I will be by myself.