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Not all that bad!
** By Capt. Mel Berman

It's often been said that "10-percent of anglers catch 90-percent of the fish." Yet most of our Fishing Florida OnLine Magazine readers had a much higher opinion. The response to our Poll Question earlier this year was a rebuke of that point of view. We asked, "How good are we? Rate the ability of the majority of us Florida anglers."

Here are the poll categories our readers voted on:

Very skilled
Don't have a clue

Of the almost 200 votes, a narrow majority said that we are "Capable" anglers. The next most popular category was "Fair."

Not surprisingly, "Don't have a clue" received the fewest votes. So you see we are not as cynical about each other as some would have surmised.

This poll drew some reader reaction. One very pithy response was an email from Gary Poyssick of Tampa. In it Gary enumerates what, in his view, makes for a good Florida angler.

"I found the poll about the competency of Florida fisherman quite interesting.

I sometimes like to think that we're pretty good fishermen -- the group of people in our immediate circle, that is. I also think that as a group we're somewhat elitist. Not many days go by where we don't see someone on the water doing something silly, dangerous, rude, or just plain ignorant.

What makes a fisherman good? Maybe you and I could flesh out this list and make an article out of it.

1. Behavior. Good fisherman act kindly towards others. They pick up trash, they help those in trouble, if they're on the bait they call others over so everyone can share in the wealth. They don't curse, yell, or get too excited. After all, it's only fishing, for God's sake.

2. Knowledge. Good fisherman share their knowledge. They might not publish all their favorite spots on the Internet, but they freely teach people who are trying to learn.

3. Conservation. Good fisherman release more than they keep. They never break the rules.

4. Safety. Good fisherman are always careful. They know that anytime you're near the water the risk of injury or even death is greatly increased.

5. Humility. Good fisherman know they're good. They don't spend a lot of time talking, they spend a lot of time fishing.

6. Local Knowledge. Good fisherman know the local waters. Even if they're not in their own back yard, they know about where to look, what to do, and how to act.

7. Humor. A good fisherman has a sense of humor. After all, good weather, good friends, and good fishing -- two out of three aren't bad."
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