Birdshot and backlashes

by Bob Cary

So where is the Irish bobber-watching Olympic team?<BR><BR>You didn’t know the Irish had a bobber watching team in the Olympics? Well, they don’t. But there area lot of bobber-watching fishermen in Ireland.<BR><BR>And in England, Scotland and Wales and across to the continent in France and Germany and elsewhere in the world. There are a lot more bobber watchers than there are equestrians or water polo players or any of those sports like beach volleyball which help fill the schedule of Olympics 2004 in Athens. There are even Greek bobber watchers, but they don’t get to compete.<BR><BR>In the scramble to include just about every activity known to the human race, a few, like fishing, got left out. There is shooting. All kinds of shooting competition. But not fishing. Why is it that the Olympic people like hunters but not fishermen?<BR><BR>The Olympics started in ancient Greece with competition in track and field, weights and wrestling. Long ago. But as the activities became a world event, other things were added, primarily to include some of the smaller nations which are proficient in only one sport.<BR><BR>The thing is, there is no sport that is more equal than fishing - live bait fishing with a bobber. The fish don’t give a hoot where you are from, how much you are paid or who your coach is. Fish bite when they feel like biting and there is not much the fisherman can do about it.<BR><BR>Also, it does not take a lot of money to put a fishing team in the field, that is, a live bait and bobber team. And no age requirement. Facts are, the most successful bobber fishermen are often kids, youngsters, both male and female. Anyone who delves into the sport of fishing knows that the Fishing Fates smile on young men and women far more than adults. Get in a boat with a couple of kids and they will out-fish you every time. Even with somewhat inferior equipment.<BR><BR>Maybe the Olympic Committee can’t figure out how to hold a fishing competition. If they were fishermen they could, but probably most of them only see a fish if it is on a hot plate in the Athens Hyatt.<BR><BR>It is really a simple affair. Pick out any piece of shoreline - river or lake - with some fish in it. Have the competitors stand behind the starting line. At the gun, each runs to the shore, baits up and hurls his line into the water <BR><BR>Imagine the excitement as one or more bobbers begin bouncing on the surface, then dive under and the fisherman sets the hook. What’s he or she got on the line?<BR><BR>There is no assistance, no helping out. Each angler has to bait up, cast and retrieve his own fish. As the fish comes ashore, it is weighed, measured and either released or put on a stringer for dinner. Bonus points for a good fillet job. It would be the only Olympic sport where you get to eat the trophy.<BR><BR>Tangling up somebody else’s line, uttering profanity over a lost fish or foul hooking a fish could result in a loss of points or even disqualification. Naturally, there would have to be referees to see that nobody is cheating on bait or using multiple hooks. Bobbers would need to be uniform but they could incorporate the nation’s colors, like: green, white and blue for Sierra Leone; white and red for Poland; blue, yellow and red for Romania. It would be colorful.<BR><BR>It would provide competition for anyone of any age. Seniors, now prohibited from competing in Olympics because of physical infirmities, could fish right alongside grade schoolers.<BR><BR>And it would be uniquely gender-friendly. There is no earthly reason to have men’s and women’s divisions in bobber-watching. Agreeably, to make things more even, we might have to handicap the women. Everybody knows when it comes to fishing, they are probably 25 to 50 points luckier than us guys.