So many fly anglers gauge skill by the size of the fish they catch. Sure, it takes a good angler to fool a smart old (big) fish. But I think a better way to judge angling prowess would be to time how fast you can land a fish. I always snicker when I watch the bass pros reefing fish to their boats. Doesn’t say much about the moxie of old bucketmouth, in my opinion.
But if you’re going to be a catch and release angler, doing so quickly is a better conservation move than the prolonged battle. Maybe we should have time standards. Or maybe we should judge world records by time, instead of by the line weight used.
For example, I personally think landing an 80-pound tarpon on 80-pound test in, say, five minutes is more impressive than landing a an 80-pound tarpon in an hour on 10-pound test. When someone brags about a light tippet world record, I can’t help but wonder how many strands of mono or fluoro were busted off on exhausted fish to get there.
But that’s just me…