(Shoutout to Chad Shmukler of Hatch Magazine for his great writeup about this, which is way nicer than I could possibly be)
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Hey, Missouri Department of Conservation, you're making us fishermen look bad. Actually, you're making us look awful.
Nothing is more frustrating than undeniable, hard evidence against something that you believe in, especially when such evidence is so flagrantly condemnable. It's like when you're having an argument with someone about why restaurant X is better than restaurant Y and you finally get whoever you're arguing with to go to restaurant X with you and they have a bad experience that you just know is rare. Well, in the case of this video, it's like taking a non-McDonald's person to the holy land for an always reliable burger and when you get there they serve that person a deep fried razorblade between two sesame seed buns. That's how much this video cuts me up.
I love fishing and advocate for all people to try it. Worst case scenario with fishing, you spend some valuable time outdoors on some (hopefully) beautiful body of water. That's a pretty good worst case scenario. OK, the actual worst case scenario with fishing is you drown, but that's not really a fishing accident. That's a water accident, if we're being honest. Anyways, anti-fishing people have a ton of arguments I disagree with: it's inhumane, it's barbaric, it glorifies killing animals, it's gross, etc. To these people I usually bring up conservationism, catch and release, the difference between harvesting your own meat sources versus buying meat, the cultural heritage of fishing, etc. To the extreme versions of these people who just want to yell and don't want to learn, I point out there won't be Wi-Fi on the stream and they rush to the nearest Starbucks for safety, dropping the silly argument entirely.
However, this video makes us fishermen look pretty darn bad. Hundreds of people overfishing the same water. Tons of shots of people keeping as many fish as possible. Maybe one shot of a released fish. All of the fish are gigantic and frankenstein-like, almost definitely farm fed, planted fish. Now I'm not saying all of these things are necessarily bad in themselves--I eat my share of fish and have fished a stocked pond or two before--but this video is strong fuel for the anti-fishing fire. It's like a gallon of gasoline labeled "fishing is bad". The way this video is put together, the music, the overall package is the exact kind of crap someone would show their coffeeshop friends and say "oh my gosh can you believe how horrible these hicks are!? Missouri is a horrible place!" It's a bummer to think about and the most frustrating part is that the Missouri Department of Conservation is the one who put it together.
Come on, what are you doing, MDC!? Yes, your video will get some people excited about fishing, but those people don't need videos to get excited about fishing. They already have fishing to get them excited about fishing. If you want to win people over to fishing, you have to make fishing look good. This video does not do that. Not even close. I know the featured parks from this video are doing well and this works for them, but it's a snagged backcast in the trees for fishing in general.
By the way, in that hypothetical argument the guy I'm arguing with is absolutely a Chipotle guy.