First Fish & Other Special Angling Moments: A Picture Can Be Worth a 1000 Words

The best thing on your stringer could be a photograph.  Capturing a defining moment on a fishing trip can add that “picture worth a thousand words” and spark memories of an outing to last a lifetime.  Your camera may be the most prized of all the gear you take fishing, but only if you have it ready to use at a moments notice.
If you anticipate a moment and are ready with your camera, whether it’s a sunrise, a close encounter with wildlife, a great catch, an extraordinary smile, or a special moment during an outing you’ll catch a few defining images to go along with a stringer of fish for dinner.
Young anglers, especially, offer plenty of photo opportunities.  In the image above, a young boy just caught his first fish, a nice James River bluegill.  I can still hear the shriek of excitement in his voice. 
About eight years ago, at a catfish pond, a thirteen-year-old girl was fishing with her classmates, which happened to be all boys.  Fishing was pretty good and ALL the boys caught fish.  The only girl in the group had yet to feel the tug of a fish.  She was a bit frustrated and was about to move to the other side of the pond when, suddenly, a fish took the bait.
At the end of her line was the greatest fish in the world.
Excitedly, she reeled, and moments later her first fish … a two-pound, white catfish was flopping on the ground at her feet.  She puffed up with pride at her accomplishment. Her smile was huge (citation sized).  Jumping up and down her arms rose into the air as if they became wings and appeared weightless.  THIS was a defining moment.  That kind of joy is the height of angling and perhaps, at that moment, she was the most excited I’d ever seen someone who had just caught a fish. 
Whoops! Where was the camera?  It was nowhere to be found.  By the time the teacher arrived with it, the moment had changed.  Photos were taken of her holding that first fish, but the original defining moment with the young angler swelling with excitement, was gone.  Today, a cell phone camera would have filled in, but the quality of a digital camera is hard to beat.
Don’t wait for decisive moments.  Anticipate and help make one happen.  Having your camera “at the ready” can make a difference.
During the annual Flatout Catfish Workshop, a program offered through DGIF’s Angling Education Program, a familiar opportunity presented itself.  Anticipating the explosion of water from the caudal (tail) fin of a flathead catfish, upon its release, I positioned myself for a photo. In a split second the flathead erupted, powering its way back to the deep, and the photo opp was there. 
The image on the right was snapped at the moment of release by a ‘surprised’ student.  I love the way this angler looks like she is dancing in the river … with flatheads.
Take plenty of shots and experiment with timing and subjects.  Upon viewing images from your trip you might notice something unexpected that makes a shot special (click here to see the ultimate unexpected moment – non fishing related). 
Keep your camera close and use it.  Don’t forget about cell phones, they work well too.  Pictures will preserve those memories of your fishing trips with family and friends.  
To see a few more of my own favorite ‘keeper’ photos, click here.  Happy Fishing (and photo taking)!