Fish ON!

     The call to arms of fishermen the world over is “FISH ON!” You will hear this countless times on a good fishing trip. On a bad one you might not hear it at all. What’s ironic about it is that they both might come back with the same number of fish in the boat.

    Fish aren’t caught until they are in the cooler, but every time we hook one, we yell “FISH ON! They can be off a few seconds later and a lot of the time they are. Fish don’t want to be caught. If you have ever fished, you know this. They fight it the whole way in, but we never yell out anything else. 

     No “Still HOOKED!”

     No “He’s GETTING TIRED!

     NO “I CAN SEE IT!”

  Occasionally someone might yell out “GET the NET!”

    Occasionally that leads to another, usually just as loud statement: “Why weren’t you ready? I said GET THE NET!” 

 Fishermen can be incredibly stubborn about what caused the fish to get away. Usually it was us, or me. I can’t speak for everyone. I lose fish all the time and nobody has to help me do it. I take full credit for the ones I lose. 

    Then I cast again.

    Then it happens “FISH ON!” and the whole thing starts over again. 

    We are some incredibly expectatious people.

    I’ve got a hook in it, so I’m going to catch it, right?

     Everything we know about fishing goes out the window once we hear “FISH ON!”

    We have somehow taught ourselves that it means I’m about to catch one even though we know this is not guaranteed. 

     There’s a lot of highs and lows in the psyche in this process. 

   Is it healthy? I don’t know. Psychology is not one of my areas of expertise.

     I know fishing is healthy, but some people might think differently about our methodology of “FISH ON!

     So, I started looking into other areas of outdoor activities to see what others are doing.

Hunters Don’t say Anything

         I don’t know that much about hunting other than it’s getting animals from the wild. Haven't done that much of it. So, I looked into it to see what they yell when they see something.

    Low and behold hunters don’t yell anything. You have to be quiet when hunting. Very quiet so you don’t scare off the animals.


    When you see a big deer over there you don’t yell out “DEER ON!?

    I was befuddled.

    How is everybody going to know what to do while you get ready to shoot it?

    Then I found the answer. It’s a little thing called whispering. 

    Even after they shoot it, they still whisper. 

 It’s crazy!

     As it turns out, they are not the only things out there that want to eat it. Predators are everywhere, or it seems like it to me based on how they act. 

     They get it, clean it, and go.

    Fishermen would be making all kinds of rackets, not hunters. They don’t want any attention drawn to them or whatever they shoot. They wait till they get back home, or camp to celebrate.

    They actually wait till they have caught it before they celebrate.

    It was at this point I realized hunting and fishing are really nothing alike.

    Nothing alike. 

    At ALL!

    I don’t know what hunting stories are like, but they seem to have an incredibly high percentage of success. We don’t. Fishermen might as well be weather people. 

    There’s a slight chance of localized biting and scattered catches throughout the day. Some places may see ponding of fish.

     Which got me thinking “How can I make fishing more like hunting and make it more productive or at least increase our success rate.

    Well let’s look at it.

    Can we stalk fish?


    Can we track fish?


    Can we shoot fish?

In some places, with some things.

    Even when I can see fish it doesn’t mean I can make them bite. Sooooo.

   This isn’t going to work. Back to the drawing board.

 So, I looked into some other outdoor activities to see what they yell. 

   Not one of them yelled anything.

   Birders are completely silent all the time. 

   They are quiet the whole time and just sit quietly and watch.

   I can’t do that, I can walk around with binoculars and if I happen to see some bird that looks interesting, I'll look at it. The rest of their process is something I don’t have the skill set to do. God didn’t exactly bless me with a whisper.

    I can when it’s appropriate, but not for any length of time. 

   Campers don’t yell anything either. They get noisy sometimes but nothing like yelling “Fish ON!”

Camp on just kind of sounds weird.

   Hikers were a mix of campers and birders. So, nothing from them either.

    It’s just us fishermen who like to announce to the world we hooked one. I am a fisherman, and I don’t understand why I have been doing this. It boggles the mind.

   I’m sure there is a solution to this dilemma, but what could it be?

Change the phrase

     So what if instead of yelling “FISH ON! Everytime we hook one we whisper it. Like they do in hunting. Would that help us catch more fish?

   After a long and arduous mental debate about it I came to the conclusion that: No, we would not catch any more fish. We might be a lot less disappointed when they get off seconds later, but we won’t get anymore of them into the boat.

    Plus we wouldn’t be ridiculed by our other fishing compatriots when they do.

    That story about the kid that cried wolf comes to mind.

    Maybe its the phrase itself we need to change.

    We should probably be whispering something like MAYBE?

    “I might be in the process of catching one.”

    “If it works out, I’ll need the net, in a moment.”

    Or just whisper “What do I do now?” Depending on what kind of day we are having. I’ve had days that made me feel like I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Some days I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. I probably have many more of them ahead of me too. I learn as I go.

  I yelled out “Fish On!” just to confuse the fish one time. I tried making them think they had a traitor amongst them that bit even though they had all agreed not to. 

    Now that I think about it actually worked.

    We are yelling “FISH ON!” at the wrong time.

    Now I have it figured out.

       When you hook a fish, say nothing. Do not let anyone know. Do not make any indication that there is anything on your line. Wait till it’s beside the boat and whisper, I need the net. It’s better for everybody this way. No false alarms, nobody looks like they need to learn how to set a hook, no more adrenaline ups and downs and hopefully a better success rate.

    The only time we should yell “Fish ON!” is when we don’t have one on. Those days that nothing is biting. After we have tried everything else it’s time to use reverse psychology on the fish themselves.

    We are supposed to be smarter than a fish anyway, aren’t we? 

    Most days?


   We all have “Those” days that we seem “Defeated.” Do we want to call the quits and go home?

   Of course not.

   I love fishing! I love going fishing! If I quit the first time, I didn’t catch anything I wouldn’t have been doing it this long. I might not be that old, but I have been fishing the majority of my life, so it counts as a long time

 I have had days so uneventful that I learned how to lay down my line and pull it up really quick to spell out things like you do with sparklers. I can almost make a short sentence now. I also still had a great time. 

    I was fishing. 

   If only I had realized my epiphany about using reverse psychology sooner, then I might only be able to spell out a letter or two. Thankfully I can write sentences now. 

I am eternally optimistic and grateful for all of life's ups and downs.

       I do have to applaud our enthusiasm though. We don’t have to land it before we get excited. 

    YES! I hooked one!

   Did you get it in?

   Well, no, but I hooked it. That’s all that matters right?

  Not . . . really.

    See what I mean. It’s a bad habit I’m working hard to break myself of.

   I whisper it now.

Maybe it will catch on, maybe not.

    Sometimes an insight into ourselves as if someone else was watching helps to pinpoint what we are doing wrong, or it shows them just how dedicated we are. It might also show them how easy we are to please. 

  Low expectations can mean high success rates. 

   Better expectations get better results though.

    If I go fishing expecting to fill the boat, I’m going to be disappointed a lot of the time. If I go fishing expecting to have a good time, I will never be disappointed.

   This sounds better: 

   Right expectations get the right results.

   Instead of yelling “FISH ON!” every time we hook one, we should be yelling “Fishing Time” all the time, before we leave to go fishing, and as we fish, right up to the point where we call it a day. That will get everybody else ready to go too.

   Did you hear that?

Somebody said “Fishing Time! Let’s GO!

   I’m in.


“Sweety what time is it?”

“Fishing TIME!”

“That’s my girl.”

You can wake up and the first thing out of your mouth could be “Fishing TIME!”

   That works so much better than Fish ON! The expectations are in the right place, no room to be disappointed, everybody understands it, it even encourages others to go. I love it.

   Problem solved.

    Seek and you shall find.

    You will always enjoy going fishing, you might be disappointed at what you didn’t catch. Focus on what you can do and let God handle the rest. Always be grateful for what we receive and be anxious for nothing.





Live by FAITH. Love the Outdoors. Life is out HERE!

written by Benjamin Evans