Fishing Industry Irony

I love irony. Not just the intentional irony of an O. Henry short story like “The Gift of the Magi,” but also the unintentional irony that we encounter in everyday life. Things like guys swaggering their way to the scales at a tournament only to find they’ve been beaten by 10 pounds or the “Genius Bar” at an Apple Store. They crack me up.

Irony can be funny, but it can also be brutal. There are lots of ironies in the fishing industry. Probably the biggest is the fact that most people go to work in the fishing industry because they love fishing, only to find they no longer have any time to fish.

Another is that avid anglers will build a better lure, rod, reel or fishing device thinking it will rule the market and make them millions only to find that their business skills are not on a par with their fishing skills and that they should have kept their day jobs.

They say that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. And like most of the things “they” say, there’s a lot of truth to it. But what they don’t tell you about that throng outside your door is that they’re not all there to buy your mousetrap and put money in your pocket. Many of them are there just to get a good look so they can copy your mousetrap, beat you to the market with their version of the same mousetrap or undercut your price and claim your millions for themselves. In fact, that’s usually the way it goes in the tackle business.

Given that irony is such a powerful force in the fishing industry, it’s a wonder that more people don’t protect themselves against its brutality. I guess it’s like a lot of other things we ignore or overlook. The bad stuff can’t happen to us — not us! We’re smart and savvy and know what we’re doing. The bad stuff is for other people.

Thank goodness they’re not here, and we can speak freely.

After several decades in the business, I’ve learned that “never” and “always” are four-letter words in the fishing industry, and that the best and brightest have bad, dark days.

Somewhere between the joy of over-the-top optimism and never-take-a-chance pessimism, between outrageous confidence and crippling doubt, between why-me and why-not-me, is the sweet spot that I hope all of my friends in the fishing industry can find.

But not the “Genius Bar” people at the Apple Store. I’m certain that irony is lost on them … and that makes them hilarious.

A rising tide lifts all boats. Let’s be that tide.