There is no doubt about it. Online forums are an outdoor enthusiast’s best friend. The wealth of knowledge. The genuine comradery. The intense debates. The in-depth discussions. They are all there, and more. Newbies can come by and pick up a new technique. Old timers can click over to share their wisdom and keep tabs on what the young bloods are up to. Even if you think you’ve seen it all and know just about everything there is to know about a topic like fishing, you will find online forums will teach you a thing or two. But there is one aspect of the online forum that may not sit well in your stomach. I’m talking about when people post the location of their favorite fishing hole, their honey hole. It may be an innocent effort at being helpful, but doing so can turn an online forum into your worst enemy.
Lurkers Looking For Lunkers
Most people who visit online outdoor sports forums enjoy doing so for the honesty and intelligence portrayed within the pages. However, it is that very honesty which can be a problem. You see, for every one person who actively contributes and converses on the forum, there are ninety nine lurkers (the once percent rule). A lurker, for those who don’t know, is someone who spends all their time reading through what other people have to say, but never contributing any content themselves. As you can see, the ratio of contributors to lurkers is quite large, meaning that only a very few people actually add input to a given forum. That means when you innocuously log on and openly discuss the places you like to fish (or hunt, or whatever), you might be contributing to the downfall of your honey hole. In essence, your innocent forum post might ruin your river.
How a River Is Ruined
Let’s make up a scenario to illustrate a point: You have been fishing in one particular spot on the Necanicum River since you were a greenhorn. Over the years, you haven’t seen too many people around and you want to divulge your little secret to your buddies on the online fishing forum you’ve befriended. They’re a tight-knitted bunch, always eager to share their own tricks and tips, so you want to reciprocate. What harm could it do? Judging by how many people actually post on the forum, it looks as if your comments won’t be read by a ton of folks. So you go for it, spilling your guts. The next weekend, when you finally find to time to return to your favorite spot on the Necanicum, you are horrified by what you find: dozens of anglers along the banks, wading in the water, floating in drift boats. It’s a disaster. Your honey hole is spoiled forever.
Finding Your Center
If you find yourself in this situation, it may not be all bad. Consider that you’ve helped a whole lot of people get off the couch and get outdoors. Consider all the money the state is making off the fishing licenses and tags. Consider the money the outfitters and boat builders and bait sellers are making. You’ve contributed to someone’s love of the outdoors while simultaneously helping out the economy. Pat yourself on the back.
I guess what I’m saying is that while one innocent comment on an outdoor forum might ruin your honey hole, it also might have unintended positive effects as well. Tight Lines!