Size Matters Not

Photos By: Matt Bornhorst/Justin Dobson

I recently read another respected anglers snippet that called out those who “long arm” a fish for a photo and misrepresent its true size.  It’s an age old trick I recall my Dad accusing the famous Saturday morning bass fishing show hosts of performing.  Hold a fish away from your body and closest to the camera lens to make it look much larger than it is.  Although I didn’t throw my two cent in on the post, I feel obligated to weigh in with a thought.

I myself could be accused of “long-arming” a fish.  Here is my legitimate excuse:  Truth be told, and others could attest, I never have put a tape on or measured a big fish.  People have asked when seeing a photo: how many inches was it?  I have no clue.  Sometimes this leads to an educated guess or some clever finger scaling, but really I just don’t care.  For me and many other it’s not really a competition, and big is big.  But besides big, there’s beautiful.  The equivalent of catching a trophy trout for me would be like buying an authentic Picasso on Craigslist.  If someone asked you how much you paid, would it really matter?  You just scored a rare find right under the noses of many.

Each fish I catch is like a work of art.  Their colors, patterns and shape are like a visit to a botanical garden.  Just as the leaves in the fall and spring transform the landscape with color, fish follow lead.  Catching a brightly colored spawning trout and pulling him from a pool is like hooking a sunken treasure.  Each fish different from another in some way.  Whether it be more spots, less spots or hardly none at all, each seems hand painted.  Whether it be the engorged hen or male with his distinctive kype, each has cleverly adapted.

I don’t long arm that fish to distort his proportions, but rather to take the focus of my ugly mug, and on the work of art I just brought to the net.