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The Weird World of Competitive Fishing

By Alasdair McClintock on August 7, 2019 in Sport

For most of us, fishing is something to do on holiday as a bit of a novelty. We’ll pack an esky, head down to a body of water, hopefully catch a fish, then crack a few jokes about kissing it like Rex Hunt and throw it back. That’s the ideal scenario at least. In all likelihood, we’ll struggle with casting for half an hour, not catch anything at all, then trudge home cursing the god Poseidon for being such a stingey prick.
Others, however, will laugh at our vain blasphemy, as they stoke their own burning shrines to the great Greek god of the ocean (probably) and giddily reel in fish after fish until they’ve had their fill. These are the men and women of competitive fishing. The elite of the fishing world. They chase the biggest catch like desperate young people chase attention on the dance floor at 3am.
Yes, competitive fishing exists. Several tournaments are held in Sydney and some are even run online. The online tournaments work by uploading a picture of your catch next to a ruler, which suggests, while there is no honour among thieves, there is among fishermen and women. Fisherpeople? That sounds weird, like they’re part fish. Regardless, if anyone wants to meet me at Fox Studios in the props department, I’ll see you there. There is nefarious coin to be made!
But don’t get too carried away. There is not much money in it. You’d barely cover costs. Like a flashy beachside wedding, competitive fishing appears to be more about love and ego than a sensible financial decision. Like Captain Ahab ruthlessly hunting Moby Dick, or Homer Simpson risking his marriage for General Sherman the giant catfish, or a drunk nineteen year-old relentlessly pursuing anything with a pulse, these fisherpeople (I’m running with it) spend their days with a wet line and a dream unlike anything us landlubbers can imagine.
The size of one’s catch isn’t the only element that determines a final winner though. Size does matter, of course, and anyone who tells you it doesn’t is a liar, but factors like the type of species, number of fish caught, and even the strength of the line used, impact the scoring in many fishing tournaments. So, having a tiny, weak rod can actually be a good thing for once.
There is no weakness in the art of fishing though, and as anyone who has reeled in even the smallest of fish can attest, those bastards are surprisingly strong and very hard to keep a hold of. You’d think a hook stuck in your mouth would be enough to keep you contained, but apparently not for these slippery customers. I tip my hat to those who have the patience to make an art of it. May Poseidon smile kindly upon you.