But killing fish isn't my only complaint about tournament fishing. The real truth is that tournaments put enormous pressure, often by highly skilled anglers and captains and guides, upon fish stocks that are struggling, even under the best of conditions, to hold their own. These are heavy pressures, applied by experts, that would not exist if the tournaments were not being held.
The dedicated tournament angler, you will be told, would probably be out fishing in any event. Not so. In the first place, tournaments are often held many miles—sometimes hundreds or thousands of miles—from where the angler lives, and he will travel that distance, take the time and pay the cost only if he can compete in a tournament. In the second place, by the time a man gets to be a dedicated tournament angler, the last thing he wants to do is spend a lot of time fishing for fun. For him, if there is no chance for gain or glory, there is no fun. He is more likely to be at home working on his tackle, or trying to line up a better captain or guide, or building an expressway or a shopping mall so he can afford to keep fishing in tournaments. One thing he will not be doing is taking his grandchildren out for a day on the water.
I said earlier that I had not fished in a tournament in years, having come to believe that it is wrong. Because of my convictions, it has also been a long time since I have gone out of my way to be terribly cordial to those who produce or promote or endorse fishing tournaments. So now there is another reason I no longer fish in tournaments. I am no longer invited.
That is fine with me. Some day, perhaps there won't be anyone left to invite. Just think how good the fishing will be then.