By taking so many different people out fishing over the years I have gained a lot of insight into the mentality of fisherman. I have fished with just about every different type of person that you could imagine from wealthy to less than middle class, experienced to novice, sportsman to meat fisherman, young to old, men, woman, white, black, asian and everyone in between. I have worked on commercial boats, sport boats, private boats, fishing resorts, inshore and offshore boats…my point is that I have fished with a lot of different people from very diverse backgrounds. The one thing that at least 90 plus percent of all fisherman that I have fished with all share in common is bottom line GREED and this is one thing that is very difficult to change. At least 30% of the people that contact me to go fishing are looking to kill as many fish as they can on a given fishing trip and the only thing that would keep them from killing everything is State and Federal fishing catch limits (by the way I only allow my clients to take a few fish for dinner and then we practice catch and release). I have gotten to the point where I turn down quite a number of fishing charters just because I don’t want to deal with this kill mentality even though I know that they will surely call another guide who will gladly take them out to put fish in the box. What really bothers me is the fact that even beyond the charter boats there are so many more recreational anglers who head out with this same mentality and the killing goes on all but unchecked. Unfortunately, most people have no clue or don’t care about how badly we are treating our fisheries. I was in the bait shop few years back and an old timer was kicked back in a rocking chair and chimed in while I was talking with the shop owner. He said “I remember when we used to go out fishing for specks and we didn’t come back until we had us a duffel bag full of fish”…my blood was boiling at this point but after about a 20 seconds pause he looked up to the ceiling and said “well I sure don’t understand why we don’t see fishing like that any more” and at that moment it clicked with me that these people really just don’t get the fact that you really can overfish a fishery. Along the same lines I had a guy call me to set up a fishing charter and when I informed him that I primarily practice catch and release he stated that “I usually practice catch and release on my local lakes but if I come down to the coast I want to take as many fish as I can to put in the freezer”. I was left near speechless and needless to say I did refuse the business. Once again we have a public resource that is being exploited by a huge number of people and at some point we are going to hit the tipping point. Stay tuned for next month as we will be will be looking at commercial vs recreational fishing and how it has impacted our fisheries.