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TROUT FISHING WITH MAURICE RODWAY - Weekly Column: February 28, 2003
Southland, New Zealand

Trout fishers, a reflection of society

Trout fishers are a reflection of the rest of society. Some are very skilled at what we do but most of us are just mediocre. We have skills enough to participate to the extent that we find satisfaction, but we also look enviously at those that seem to be able to always be successful. It is widely thought that 20% of the anglers catch 80% of the fish. I am not sure how accurate this is in fact. However it is true that during surveys of anglers it is only a few that actually have fish to report when their bags are revealed.

Fortunately trout fishing is a complex recreation and for most of us just an occasional trout is all that is needed to fill the satisfaction basket nearly to the top. Satisfaction is at least partially measured by being out, away from all the pressures of everyday life. Even a one trout day can be memorable, especially if you share it with a friend in beautiful surroundings. Experienced anglers, including those who fill the executive positions of fishing clubs will remember days in the hills when the lost opportunities outweigh the number of trout on the bank. When those days are spent with others of a like mind the memories last forever.

Anglers are well known as defenders of clean water and the natural character of rivers. In fact there is no other group that is quite so active in this area. The memory of a wonderful day when the sun shone and the wind blew gently upstream, and maybe a trout or two were caught comes to the foremost when a power company puts its case for a dam. A farmer who ploughs or burns a tussock hillside that drains into the stream throws a dark shadow over those memories. Thoughts of power pylons strung together by the power of a river or livestock pugging the banks where a deep pool once lay are a powerful impetus to cry out in defence of those memories and of the hope of more to come.

The scientist, or engineer, or farmer who does not share this concept of the world has a great deal of trouble in finding beauty in a day when a trout fisher comes home with empty arms but a happy smile. That makes arguments about the value of a river inevitable. 

Satisfaction in trout fishing is not counted by the number of trout on the bank but by the memories that are kept. The values held by anglers are not shared by all but keeping the source of that satisfaction safe is something that should be.   

Maurice Rodway
Southland, New Zealand                           E-mail:

Article © 2003 Maurice Rodway, All Rights Reserved.


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