If you work in the fishing industry, at least half of what you hear is rumor.
Some recent examples: Bass Pro Shops is going to buy Cabela’s. B.A.S.S. is for sale again. Trump wants a border adjustment tax to pay for “the wall.” The Bass Pro/Cabela’s deal is in jeopardy. ICAST is moving to Alaska. FTR is staffed by extra-terrestrials.
Telling truth from fiction is difficult. Even distinguishing between plausible and implausible can be tough.
Luckily, most of the rumors shake themselves out without having grave ramifications for most of us. They provide interesting fodder for conversation, wild speculation and even fantasy.
Over several decades in the outdoor press, I’ve learned that I have a foolproof crazy-rumor-stopper — “CRS” for short.
I ask a single question:
“Can I quote you on that?”
You might be amused at the looks I get. It’s almost like the five stages of grief, but instead of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, it’s more like shock, realization, backtracking, regret and acceptance.
The other person’s response usually goes like this: “Well, I … uh … you know….” Then it’s time to change the subject.
A secondary benefit of my question is that it stops the “I told you so’s” that come later when the rumor proves true and I see that person again.
He or she makes a beeline for me and says, “I told you that PRADCO was coming out with a bait that locates fish and swims toward them until they bite!”
“No, you didn’t,” I say. “You told me you heard something about it and then you wouldn’t even stand behind it. You didn’t check to see if it was true, and you wouldn’t allow yourself to be quoted. You get no credit here.”
That usually stops them in their tracks. It often stops me from sharing rumors with others. When I do, I’m pretty sure they’re going to pan out.
As for the rumor that FTR is staffed by aliens, it’s just the editorial staff.