Like most fishermen, I tend to be a positive thinker, and on most days would even consider myself an optimist. Still I do have a dark side, which occasionally boils up, especially when I am confronted by something that is well ... stupid.
I recently had a conversation with a guy who told me he was buying a set of new big black outboards. He explained he was tired of his "first generation" black outboards keeping him from fishing as they were always in the repair shop. I pleaded with him to reconsider his decision, but for some unfathomable reason he still proceeded to buy a set of the latest and greatest black engines. I ran into him just the other day and he immediately started moaning about the fact he couldn't go out fishing as his boat was again back in the repair shop with a serious problem on one of his brand new engines. I have always wondered why someone decided to paint outboards the color of evil ... makes you think.
Folding boats are also just plain stupid. I mean there is no way I would ever stick my rear end in a boat that is designed to fold up -- just won't happen. You have to be incredibly naive to venture out on the ocean in a boat with directions printed on the side that say fold A to B, and then B to C... and never take your lifejacket off!
Live-wells that don't drain all of the water out is just plain crazy stupid, yet almost every boat builder out there seems totally incapable of designing a bait compartment that actually drains all of the water and debris out. I invariably end up having to find a sponge so I can remove the residual water and bait left swirling around in the bottom of the live-well. It's really seems like a pretty simple concept... gravity-duh!
Treble hooks, or as I call them "trouble hooks," are also incredibly dumb. These dang things are like sharp magnets. They continually become tangled up with everything (and everyone) on the boat. If you don't believe me, just try reaching into your tackle box and try to retrieve a lure with two sets of treble hooks. I can guarantee you will spend the next five minutes of your life trying to untangle it from everything in there. Logically you would think a lure with two sets of triple hooks would catch more fish... I mean more hooks should equal more catching. Yet, I have found that while treble hooks do catch fish, they certainly don't catch more than a single hook, and in fact probably less. Of course, once you do catch a fish using a lure with treble hooks the real challenge begins: First, you have to fight a flopping fish as you try to remove multiple hooks out of the fish's mouth. By the time you finally succeed in getting the first set of "trouble hooks" out of the fish's mouth, the other set has now become hopelessly stuck in the gills. No matter how careful you are, by the time you get the second set of hooks out of the gills, the first set of trouble hooks are now stuck in your fingers!
Fishing regulations have to be the stupidest thing ever. Now, I totally understand the need to keep irresponsible people from over-harvesting our resources, but can't they develop regulations that the average law-abiding fisherman can understand and follow? First of all, let's consider standardizing the way you determine the size of the fish -- maybe we should just measure all fish from the nose to the fork of the tail! Of course, you will still have to deal with all of the confusing season closures, which obviously were made up by a crazy person (note: I fully realize they were actually conceived by a committee of crazy people).
For example, you have separate Gulf and Atlantic regulations, both of which contain totally different rules. Now, I sometimes fish in locations where the Gulf and Atlantic actually come together and meet, so I decided to ask a F.W.C. officer which regulations he would hold me accountable to... I kid you not he just stood there in silence with a baffled look, unable to respond. If all of this weren't bad enough, the fishing regulations printed by the state also have all sorts of little asterisks, triangles, dots and other strange symbols used to further designate and delineate "special regulations" such as slot sizes, and my favorite... "exceptions to the regulations." It has gotten to the point that you almost need an attorney and marine biologist on-board so you can understand the dang state fishing regulations.
OK, I have to admit that I, too, occasionally do some really stupid stuff... usually like going out and buying one of those stupid lures with treble hooks on both ends!
Capt. Pete Peterson welcomes comments and suggestions sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.