Pics or it Didn’t Happen

lukeIf you live in New England, there is a good chance that you or someone you know has a fish photo hanging on the wall. Maybe it is Grandpa posing with a pike or your friend’s dad holding a bass. Maybe it is your sister showing off a monster striper from when she was a kid. Historically, people claim, “It was this big!” as they make an exaggerated version of the size of the fish with their hands. When it comes to fishing stories, as far as I am concerned, if there is not a photo, it didn’t happen.
Perhaps there is no better way to display your angling skills to your peers than to post a photo of a lunker on Instagram. You might measure the success of your day by the number of likes your photo gets rather than the size of the fish. The dog days of summer are almost here and there will be ample time to get out and beef up your social media. While some of us are day-drinking at The Hot Club, others will be dropping bait off the sides of boats or casting lures into rivers anxiously waiting for a tug from the big one.
In the early 2000s, many of my summer afternoons were spent with friends indoors in a dimly lit basement sitting in front of a computer. Now, all of the content I want to scroll through can be accessed on a device that fits in my pocket, and these devices have great cameras built into them. Instagram is the first and only social media platform that I have become addicted to so far. Scrolling through my feed is the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night. When I post a picture, I check my phone every few minutes for likes and comments. It is pathetic. At least I don’t need to sit behind a computer console to do so. Since the social media that most of us are fond of can be more easily used on our smartphones than on a clunky computer, it seems that there is a push to get back outdoors and out of the basement. Photos of people getting out and experiencing things makes for a better feed.
If you do catch a fish and want a good photo, use teamwork.  If a buddy’s rod suddenly gets bent, and said friend proclaims,”Fish on!” get ready to stop what you’re doing and get your phone out. Put down your pole and snap a few good photos once your buddy gets the hook out. If everyone in your group makes it a habit, there will be better photos and less time out of the water for the fish.
Hold the fish out toward the camera to make it look bigger. A two pound bass might look like a three pounder — just don’t block your face in the shot with it.  Hold the fish horizontally. That is how it spends most of its life under water and it adds more stress to hold it vertically.
Gently release the fish, or keep it if you want to eat it. Your friend can text or email you the photo and it can be on instagram in a few minutes, so long as you don’t spend too much time trying to come up with a witty comment to go with it.
If you are fishing alone, you do not have many options other than to take the hook out, reach your slimy hand in your pocket and grab your phone. After smearing a bunch of goo on your touch screen to get to the camera function, hold the fish near your face to confirm that it was in fact you who caught it, and take a nice selfie.
Kayaking seems to be growing in popularity, or maybe my peers are just getting hobbies other than drinking. Just be careful when you take a photograph in any boating circumstance. With all the action and slime, you might drop your phone in the water. I put my phone in a sealed sandwich bag in case I capsize in my kayak. If you catch something, ask a buddy to paddle over to take the photo. Taking the hook out yourself while getting your phone ready and trying to not tip over is a tricky task.
A little photo teamwork goes a long way. Just remember to put as much effort into taking your friends’ photos as you would want them to put into taking yours. Snap off a few, send them to your friend, then he/she can choose the best one to share with the Instagram world. It will probably make for a better feed than what’s going on in your basement.

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