Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Each year in Alaska we have a large number of injuries by people snagging themselves or others with fish hooks. Some of these injuries have been very serious and a few people have even lost an eye after being snagged. This is perhaps the main reason I tend to shy away from the combat style fishing. What is catching that one or two fish really worth?

To me, fishing has always been an excellent form of relaxation. Sitting out there on that quiet peaceful lake or river enjoying the scenery as you jig your pole. The sun is shining brightly and the boat drifts along slowly... Excuse me, I started to doze off... To me that is relaxation at it's finest.

Then you have combat fishing... Standing shoulder to shoulder, three deep at times and trying to fish just doesn't seem to have the same relaxation effect on me. Besides the fact that it is crowded, noisy, and dangerous you also have other factors to deal with.

Why is it the guys on both ends of the hole only know one cast? You know these guys because you have been there and seen them yourselves. From both ends they always cast back towards the middle and over seventeen other lines in the process. Some are lucky and manage to get their lines in while others are not so lucky and soon you're in a tug of war with about ten other fishermen. After a few snips and choice words you're ready to fish again, only to find you have now lost your spot to another fishermen. In frustration you crowd back in anyway and get off your first shoulder to shoulder cast only to be snagged once again by the same guy! While trying to get your lines untangled, you hear "Fish On!" You watch as the guy who had been standing next to you stomps over your tackle box and steps on your fishing pole as he heads down stream fighting what could have been your fish! Now you're really relaxed!

You're finally back fishing when your hat sails out into the river! You look around and see the line that has snagged your hat is the same guy who has snagged you twice before!

There you are, your favorite hat is in the river, your reel is full of sand, you have lost over half of your line and NO FISH! Don't those small lakes look pretty good about this time?

See you next week!

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