Home | Advertise | Issues | Fishing Info | Tournaments | Buy a Photo | Delivery Locations | Merch | Send a Photo

Vol 46 | Num 21 | Sep 22, 2021

The Offshore Report Ocean City Report Chum Lines Delaware Report Ship to Shore The Galley Issue Photos
Chum Lines

Article by Capt. Mark Sampson

“I’d rather be lucky than good” is a phrase hunters and anglers often pitch to describe an outing that unexpectedly comes to a successful conclusion. And although you certainly don’t have to be a sportsman to appreciate when Lady Luck steps into your life, those of us who habitually find ourselves in pursuit of fish or game are quick to welcome every little bit of it that comes our way.

Of course there’s two kinds of luck so anyone who prays for it had better be clear on exactly the brand they’re hoping for or they could end up regretting their request. Remember, bad luck ain’t so good, while good luck ain’t so bad! Gotta keep that kind of thing in perspective when you’re messing around with luck!

It can be argued that a higher level of satisfaction is the reward to those who have the ability to bring home the bacon without relying on luck to do it. But there are too many variables involved in any outdoor pursuit to say that luck plays absolutely no part in any favorable outcome. Though some sportsmen might not like to admit it, luck plays a huge factor in any successes that come our way. Yea, we can methodically research and plan-out our trips taking into account phases of the moon, the tides, winds and migrations, we can spend days or even weeks scouting out areas, setting up stands, rigging our boats and tackle, shooting our bows, sighting-in our guns, sharpening hooks, painting decoys, reviewing trail-cam photos, tying flies, rigging baits or any of a million other things we might think of to swing the odds for success in our favor, but there is always the chance that the fish won’t swim up the channel or the deer won’t walk down the trail at the precise time they need to so that we can get the shot or set the hook on our quarry. That’s where luck always (and I do mean “always”) plays a part.

Luck is the variable that prevents any sportsman from being able to honestly forecast that the outcome of any trip is “guaranteed.” And while many of us would probably love to know that anytime they put to sea or head off into the woods that they will be successful in acquiring what they’re after, it’s that measure of uncertainty that’s assured to keep each trip unique and never boring. And though we all carry some sort of luck with us at all times, there’s really not much need pull it out of our pockets and try to super-analyze luck, it’s one of those things that’s better off just taken at face value because it just gets more confusing the more you contemplate it. If bad-luck is just an absence of good-luck then that would mean that there is no such thing as bad-luck. Or the flip-side would be that there’s no such thing as good-luck - just a deficiency of bad luck. Personally I don’t like the thought of it either way, and I’m sorry for even bringing it up.

One good thing about bad-luck (if there is such a thing) is that sportsmen have it to use as a scapegoat when things don’t go well for us. “Hey we were in the right place, at the right tide, doing the right thing, we should have caught fish, I guess we just got hit-up with a dose of bad-luck today!” Luck can also flip-flop in a heartbeat and turn our smiles upside down and back again before we know it. Once, while running home from a long fishless day on the ocean I was elated to stumble upon a big school of very hungry fish feeding on the surface. I stopped the boat and in short order we were into some of the best tuna action I’d ever encountered and a good reason to get home a couple hours late. When we got back underway we thought we were the luckiest fishermen in the world until we were hit by one of the worst storms I’ve ever experienced just a half-hour from the inlet. I surly would have rather experienced that blow from the safety of the marina but our “good-luck” of running into that school of fish gave us the “bad-luck” of still being on ocean when the storm hit. Then again, we had the good-luck of surviving to tell the story. So go figure!

While there’s a lot of uncertainty about luck, one thing is for sure – it is not contagious! You can be fishing shoulder to shoulder with the luckiest angler in the world and watch them pull in fish after fish and still end up with nothing but a skunk in your own cooler. And if you really think about it, anytime sportsmen are enjoying “good-luck,” our quarry is certainly not going to agree that there’s any kind of “aura” of favorable luck in the air. But like I said, maybe luck is just one of those things that we don’t need to think too hard about!

With this being the last issue of the Coastal Fisherman for 2021, I'd like to wish everyone good "luck" with the remainder of their fishing year and the hunting seasons many of us will enjoy between now and about the end of January. After that I'll be heading down to the Florida Keys for March and April to shove my skiff around the backcountry flats in quest of tarpon, bonefish, sharks, cuda and other fishy critters - with any "luck" we'll find some hungry ones!§

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



Buy a Photo