1. Most of my focus is on putting the fish in the best possible position for the photo and praying the fin slapper doesn’t freak out which happens far more than I like. There is very little focus spent on how I look in the photo. So typically the fish will look great but I will look terrible.
2. Getting the fish back healthy is always lingering in my thoughts while handling fish for pictures or just removing the hook. A lot of the time I actually try to hold my breath during the photo op as the fish has to do the same (more accurately the fish is choking).
(Above: One of my not so mean mugging shots where I look completely ridiculous. These are the moments where I am talking to the camera operator and come across as a complete goober.)
3. Sometimes there are problems and I have had to let the fish go without any shot at all. Batteries die, electronics fail and sometimes I have to explain how the camera works to a friendly passerby. As a result I think my face has now become a very serious stare waiting for the camera to go “click”.
(Above: Set the camera and two seconds before the picture is snapped I hear a rustling in some wood debris a few yards away. A large raccoon crawls out and starts eyeballing my fish. So many things can ruin a fish picture opportunity.)
4. How much trouble is this photo going to cause and can I crop those trees out? This one may sound a little paranoid but fishing in Colorado is so serious that a number of people count trees, rocks and will literally pick the spot from your photo. Post a big fish up on the forums with just a few twigs and three guys will say, “Oh I remember that spot! Man I am going to fish there tomorrow!” Then I go back a week a later and the once empty parking lot is full of water slappers elbow to elbow. You would be surprised how good these waterhounds are…including myself. This is where the shameless bragging can really backfire on a metro angler.
(Above: Every spot is taken unless you want to squeeze in between some people and hope they don’t get upset. Competition and public pressure can get thick for the Metro\Front Range especially when the word gets out about a hot spot.)
5. Fishing is serious business for me so even with a big fish in the hands my mind is thinking there might be another fish close by. My photo ops take too much time away from fishing as it is which leads to a bit of anxiety when taking the pictures.
For these reasons and maybe even a few more my fish holding sour face mug will usually come across as a bit cantankerous or even angry. Once again I will stress that my not so warming expressions on my face is due more to intense focus than anything else. Hopefully this edition of Inside ColoradoCasters clears away some of the confusion and mystery that sometimes revolves around this Mattsabasser…admittedly I am often misunderstood.
Good luck and good fishing.