Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Inside ColoradoCasters: “Mean Mugging”…explained

“Matt, why don’t you smile when you catch fish?” This is question number 3 or 4 in my most frequently asked questions pile. Viewers, co-workers and even family mention my grimaced looks that appear in most of my fish photos. Honestly I don’t actually try to look overly intense or even angry in my photos. This happens for a few reasons that I will now detail for no reason other than answer to milk a filler post and re-hash a few photos that help support my case.

(Above: For the record my face does wear a smile occasionally but feel that I look a bit silly when I do. In this picture I am more or less smirking because the camera slipped at an angle a half second before the picture was snapped. “Finally get a decent a pike and the camera nearly @#$$% falls in the water.”)

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.


Rick Schroeder said...

Matt I think its because when you smile you resemble Tim Curry... Not that, that is a bad thing.

Stephanie and Dustin said...

Wow, guess we need to be careful about having any kind of scenery in our shots. Egads!

Often we are quick to snap photos because we want to get the fish back breathing again. A quick shot, and back in the drink, and most of those quick shots turn out to be crap. Win some, lose some.


Jay said...

Good post. I completely understand the issues you described.
The challenge of the snapping perfect fishing pic seems to be as tough as catching the fish in the first place.

Cofisher said...

Not to sound like a snob, but I don't usually waste my time or the fishes either. I figure most everyone has seen fish; big, small, fresh caught or store bought. All the same to me.

Coloradocasters said...

@Rick: Thanks for stopping by, man. Good to see some local cats checking out the fishing blogilicious. Your comment is not the worst thing anyone has ever said to me.

@Steph: There used to be a group of folks that would send out pics from the fishing forum posts with the title; “Guess this spot!” If it was a Front Range water hole that I had been two at least once or twice I would cough out the name and say, “I can name that fishing spot in three rocks!” (sigh) I really don’t have much of a life outside of work and fishing.

@Jay: Thanks you for your understanding. The fish rarely cooperate for me but get downright cordial for other anglers. I must be doing something wrong.

@Cofisher: I would never consider you a snob but may have seen you once or twice casting the 6wt in the seafood section of the local grocer. It is a common sentiment on fishing forums and other venues that most fish bragging tales are worth a little more if a decent picture is tossed in. I do what I can even if it doesn’t always go as planned.

Anonymous said...

Matt, I figure anyone looking at fish pictures are supposed to be looking at the fish anyway, not your mug! You take the picture of the fish, and, hopefully you get a picture of yourself and a nice fish. Why bother to catch a fish if they (the reader) just wants to look at pictures of you.

Tim Gerke said...

Fishing is serious stuff. I say keep your game face on!

Coloradocasters said...

@Mel: You are right for most of the anglers that view my blog. However there might be a few family members or acquaintances that stop by just to make sure I am still alive.

@Tim: Absolutely serious! Bless all of those that still think fishing is fun and a casual affair. Some even find it relaxing? Even as a kid fishing, exploring and my hunting trips as a youth were darn serious business.

Thank you for the comments and this “Inside ColoradoCasters may or may not be a regular addition to the blogilicious material. The goal of this excerpt is to wipe away the confusion revolving this Mattsabasser as I am so often misunderstood. Most of the time I am probably making this situation worse.

Anonymous said...

Hey great post and I like looking at what you caught most so keep it up.
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FishCreekSpinners said...

Hi, I recognize that one photo as East side of Stearns Lake, right?

Have you seen anyone catch a Tiger Muskie in it? It's 4.2 miles from my house. I've fished there, but spent most of the time watching hawks and ducks.

I know what you Mean. Mugshots are all 'Nick Nolte'. When you got it, flaunt it!