by Kevin Short
Over the course of this wild and sometimes wacky journey we call life, Iâ€™ve learned a couple of things. Some have come from Hard Knock U, and others have come just from keeping my mouth shut at the right time and observing.
Several of the most important lessons Iâ€™ve learned, especially with respect to derby fishing, are what I call the Three Rs of the Bass World, aka The Three Rs of Life. Not unlike the Three Rs of Education, Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, these Three Rs have certain undeniable truths and very specific conditions they exist within. Then again, theyÂ sometimes can be pretty flexible and nowhere near static.
My Three Rs are Respect, Responsibility and Righteousness.
The first and possibly most important R is Respect.
The dictionary defines respect as â€œesteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.â€ And â€œdeference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment.”
Respect is a two-way street â€“ you have to give it to receive it. We all know people who have little or no respect for others around them. Itâ€™s no surprise these same people are not highly regarded: They donâ€™t respect anyone or anything around them, so why should anyone respect them?
I was told about an incident that occurred during a recent jackpot derby on Lake Dardanelle that is a perfect example of a complete lack of respect. In addition to the jackpot, there was also a college derby out of the other end of the lake. A couple of the jackpot anglers were fishing a shallow backwater area when one of the college teams sat down 20 feet in front of them, dropped their Power-Poles, and informed Bobby Joe and his partner they had to leave since they were anchored. I wish Iâ€˜d been a frog on a lily pad to witness 75-year-old Bobby Joe blow a gasket. Iâ€™m surprised he didnâ€™t get in the boat with the college kids and give them an old-fashioned Johnson County butt-whippinâ€™.
Not only do we need to respect others around us, but we also need to respect ourselves. There’s no way in the world you can succeed in life if you donâ€™t respect yourself. No way.
The person with no self-respect is on a short trip to Nowheresville. Respect for yourself is the root of confidence, and you MUST have confidence in yourself and your abilities to succeed in anything.
Tournaments are not won by anglers with no self-respect. Doesnâ€™t happen. Canâ€™t happen. I guess that someone could just get bat-poop-crazy lucky, but the odds of that happening are miniscule.
Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that fish can feel negative energy coming down the line. I honestly believe they can feel bad vides coming into the water via your line. I know, I know…sounds goofy, but thereâ€™s a whole lot to be said for having a positive attitude as opposed to negative. People with positive vibes get things done. Negative vibes create negative results. Respect yourself. Youâ€™ll go a lot further in life, I promise.
Respect is such a simple thing, yet it seems to be in short supply at times. When it comes to ego or money, respect is sometimes easily forgotten. It doesnâ€™t have to be like that, either. Thatâ€™s the sad part. A little more respect in the world would go a long way to solving a bunch of issues.
As derby anglers, we have to respect other anglers and their space, as well as other people using the waterways. Just because you paid more for your entry fee, your boat, truck, rods, reels or whatever doesnâ€™t mean Jack Crap. Itâ€™s a small world and we all have to get along, people. That fancy boat could have issues and you might need the man on the flatbottom to tow your disrespectful butt back to the ramp. Ya never know.
Respect the game
Not only do we have to respect each other on the water, but we also have to respect the game. This thing we all get so enthralled with, this derby fishing thing, isnâ€™t finding a cure for cancer. Weâ€™re not solving world hunger here. Weâ€™re just going fishing.
The overwhelming majority of time, weâ€™re not even putting food on the table â€“ we let the things go!
Itâ€™s nothing more than a game to pass the time and recreate. Nothing more. Nothing less. Get over yourself and show the game some respect. If you fish derbies, read and follow the dang rules. Thereâ€™s nothing more disrespectful to the sport of bassinâ€™ than people who either break the rules because they donâ€™t know them or, worse, break them because they know them and ignore them.
There are enough people who donâ€™t derby-fish who think weâ€™re all a bunch of beer-swilling cheaters as it is, we donâ€™t need any more help with this ill-conceived notion.
Responsibility is a heavy burden, my brothers and sisters: â€œthe state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management.” My definition is pretty simple: you do what youâ€™re supposed to do.
Whether we want to admit it or not, weâ€™re all responsible and answerable to someone. Even the 1-percenters in the world have someone to answer to at some point in time. To some degree, weâ€™re all responsible to our boss, our spouse, our family, friends and a myriad of other people. As derby anglers with sponsors, weâ€™re responsible to those sponsors to represent them in a positive manner at all times. Thatâ€™s what we do. Weâ€™re also responsible to tournament organizations, as well as our fellow anglers.
The final R in K-Pinkâ€™s World is Righteousness. Iâ€™m not talking about good old Southern Baptist, hellfire and brimstone Righteousness. Iâ€™m talking about doing the right thing. Iâ€™m talking about doing the right thing when no one is looking because itâ€™s the right thing to do.
Righteousness is stopping to pick up the dude who respects no one when his boat is disabled, even though it would have been easier to keep on going down the river to the weigh-in.
Righteousness is returning dudeâ€™s box of Bagley crankbaits that fell out of his boat in the middle of Sam Rayburn.
Righteousness is turning yourself in for a rule infraction, even though you didnâ€™t have a marshal in the boat that day and no one else in the world would have known what you did.
Righteousness is doing the right thing every time.
So there you have it. K-Pinkâ€™s simple Rules of Life, the Three Rs. The bassinâ€™ world and this whole planet would be a better place if we all did ’em.