My Goodland friends who fish tell me the first question they get after they have been fishing is, “Did ya catch anything?”
Second question, “How big was it?” I remember when I was in kindergarten, the boys sang a song about fishing at our spring program. It went something like this: When I went fishing I caught a big fish, a big fish, a big fish, a very very big fish!
I bet if that song were sung today, girls would have to be included. Ya think? I guess most guys do try to make their fish as big as they can, but my Goodland friend, Lou Van Meter, doesn’t necessarily go after the big ones. Most of the fish in the Goodland area are small anyway – pompano, redfish, snook, snapper and the occasional grouper. Lou says he fishes for fun. I might even say it is his main hobby. In the mangroves though, you never know what youmight run into.
Mosquitoes? Alligators? The water is so shallow your hook could get caught on something besides a fish. Oops! You might even break a line. That isn’t fun especially in the heat of the summer months. At least it wouldn’t be for me, but then I’m not a good fisherman. But Lou is. Fishing is relaxing to him. In addition, he enjoys fishing with his daughter, Jennifer, when she is visiting and he likes to bring enough fish home for family and neighbors.
Do you remember that I go to Homer, Alaska in the summertime? The question there is never, “Did ya catch anything?” No, no, the question is, “How big was it?”
You see, there are thousands of halibut in Kachemak Bay right in front of Homer. So many that you never snag your hook onanything but a halibut. They are on the bottom and hungry!! And they weigh anywhere from 15 pounds to over 400 pounds. Salmon fishing ishighly regulated and when they get in the rivers, they don’t like to bite. They are not hungry!!! They have one thing on their mind. Getting to the spawning site.
So they are quite challenging to catch. Better to go to the seafood place and get what you want in my opinion!
The differences here and there are vast. In Alaska you probably have to work harder to catch fish and the weather can be cold with rough seas. In Goodland it is definitely warmer and a bit easier, I would say. You can even lounge in a chair on the new Goodland Boat Park dock and fish like George and Anita Smith like to do.
Just remember that bigger isn’t necessarily better and the rewards are satisfying no matter where you are. Especially if you catch something and you tell your friends a good story.
Joanie Fuller is vice president of the Goodland Civic Association. She and her husband of 46 years, David Fuller, are residents of Goodland.