We seem to be hearing that phrase a lot these days, “It’s not fair.” I even hear that same suggestion in the world of hunting and fishing. Let me explain. I recently read something in an outdoor publication that I find kind of annoying. In a letter to the editor, the writer said it wasn’t fair that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission had so many special regulation areas designated as “artificial lures only.” According to the writer the commission was discriminating against the bait fisherman. Baloney! And that’s putting it mildly.
First of all, I pride myself on being a pretty proficient bait fisherman. I started my trout fishing as a salmon egg fisherman and like everything else I do when it comes to hunting or fishing I take it very seriously and I try to be the best that I can. Like the guy who taught me how to fish salmon eggs, catching and releasing 20, 30 or even 40 trout in a single day was not at all unusual. If employed properly the technique can be extremely effective. In the years that followed, I added live minnow fishing to my repertoire, and it too proved to be an effective and exciting way to take both trout and bass. Over the years I have graduated to using artificial lures almost exclusively. It saves gathering, storing and fussing with bait and I really enjoy the challenge of fooling fish on something that’s an imitation. I will on occasion, however, go back to one of my old bait fishing techniques just to prove that I can still make it happen.
Not everybody will choose to do what I did when it comes to fishing, and that’s fine — it’s purely a matter of choice, and that’s my whole point. No person or persons are being discriminated against in special regulation fishing areas, but rather it is the equipment that is being defined. If you want to fish in special regulation areas slated for artificials only then learn to use artificial lures; it’s not about who you are but what you are utilizing to catch fish. Absolutely anybody that wants to can fish with artificial lures or even flies for that matter — it’s your choice.
I remember years ago when I was purely a rifle hunter when it came to deer hunting, and I kept hearing about the guys who were taking some nice bucks using bows and arrows. Not surprising, but there were and still are some who say, “It’s not fair — they get longer seasons, and they get the first chance at big bucks.” Guess what? I became an archery hunter; I chose to do that. It was about the equipment used not about the person using it. Later I began hearing about guys having fun hunting in the late season with muzzleloaders — yea, they got a longer hunting season; it wasn’t the people but rather the equipment that was permitted. Guess what? I got a muzzleloader and learned to use it now I too enjoy a longer deer season, and it’s because I chose to comply with the types of equipment used.
If you choose to don spandex, wear a pointed helmet and ride a fancy bicycle that’s all well good and it’s great exercise, but you can’t drive down Interstate 80 using that equipment. If you want to use the Interstate you have to have a license and the appropriate vehicle — it’s not about you, the person, but it has everything to do with the equipment you are using, and that’s your choice, and same holds true for special regulation fishing areas.