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Terrestrial Bound Anglers


Jerry A
On a local board a member entitled his post ?I wish the fishing industry would do a magazine or/and product aimed at the bank fisherman.? In this post he wrote, ?I really do not think they realize how much money bankfisherman spent on fishing gear, simply because they do not have a boat payment over their head. I mean 1000 of dollars. they have fishin mags on everything, why not bankfishing.? To which he received many comments from boat anglers that were, shall we say, unbecoming. The gentleman had adopted the moniker of ?The Last Bank Fisherman? for obvious reasons.

Now you must realize that I truly do sympathize with him. My beginnings were in the countryside with family and we each had a Zebco 202 on a flimsy little rod. As a kid I spent the summers in Arkansas where we?d park a truck on a bridge upstream and take another to the bridge downstream and we?d all walk up the stream fishing our way along. I am the oldest of 5 kids and we had cousins along so at any one time there could be as many as 3-4 adults and 6-8 kids along for the adventure. You each were responsible for your own rod, reel and tackle box. The box was usually a small container that fit into your pocket and held anything that you thought you might like to try that day. You tied on your own hook or lure and unhooked any fish that you caught. If you chose to use live bait it was found under a rock, in the water or on a branch overhead. This is how I learned to fish.

At this point you have gleaned that I am abnormal in many ways. You see my father worked for and retired from the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service. We moved around every few years as an Army brat would but it was always to another exotic locale. We moved from Arkansas to Texas to Georgia to Texas to central Missouri, Northern Minnesota and eventually Atlanta, GA. It was a good drive into town just to get to school or to find a Library. Growing up there were no computers and I can recall only one very early video game, when I was in High School. For the most part we entertained ourselves and stayed out of trouble because both parents worked. I would not trade it for any other rearing. This is the basis for my existence; my reason for my love of the great outdoors.

My angling opportunities were plentiful. In Arkansas we fished small pebble laden streams, the White River and more farm ponds than I can count. In Missouri we fished drainage canals and levees since the National Wildlife Refuge was right on the Mississippi River. In northern Minnesota it was a small lake and the Rice River. To this day I love to get back to basics and put myself on the bank. These, I believe, are natural anglers because they are more in tune. Years ago Rick Clunn would shun the hotel room for a campsite and a tent. This, he offered, was to keep him closer to nature while he was fishing the National tournament trails. As I read it many years ago I could picture that guy flying down the lake at 70 mph and think how much he is missing along the way. Alongside I?d imaging Mr. Rick Clunn taking care of business and enjoying his day all the more.

You see bank fishermen have the same abilities that the tournament pro has. One can work a Texas rigged worm from boat or bank. The terrestrial bound angler has access issues in our modern world and when he/she can find the bank their Texas rigged worm will work in a much different manner than one retrieved to a floating platform. Rather than vertical fishing his/hers is more of a horizontal approach. It has to pull uphill over snag, stump and debris. The essence is that it?s more of a tweak on a technique rather than a whole new approach.

What does change is that his range of operation is limited but this in reality is more of a blessing rather than a curse. Our terrestrial bound angler has the opportunity to reach the assigned zone with ever increasing granularity. He takes time to learn and ply his wares along the water in front of him. I have a friend that can describe what he is feeling on the other end of the line just as accurately as any angler ever has in a boat. He is a terrestrial bound angler and is quite proud of it but I don?t think he?d ever ask for a magazine devoted to the bank fisherman. I do believe he tolerates my invitations to take to the boat and I always sell it as a way to explore the water he fishes from a different perspective. As boaters we should view the bank angler in the same lens ? out there using their God given talents and treasures to do what they love to do.