When Is A Derby A Waste Of Time??

This is a very legitimate question, one that was raised a while back in a email from an angler who used to frequent this site.  I had sent out invitations to the usual "group" of participants on my site and this was one of the replies I got back from someone;

"Heyyyyyyy Guys. As I just returned from fishing two Derby's over on the Kootenays and plan on fishing two more in the near future I think it shows I'm prepaired to match my skills against any one whose putting up an entry fee which includes guides,pros, ETC.
 Personally I think its time for a real Derby on the Okanagan but as long as some you wish to support a closed entry Derby limited to a select few. Count me out."

Now, what I don't understand is why this person couldn't merely have just said "no thanks!" or something similar, and, the jist of the mail is that in fact these smaller derby's are a total waste of time!  So I pondered on this for a while and thought about some of the derbies I have attended in the past, to try and determine if in fact these silly derbies are a waste of time!  We used to have an RCMP derby at Echo Lake outside of Lumby back in the 80's, every year!  We had a blast, 8 years in a row!  There was an entry fee and some good prizes but, I would have to say that 99% of us weren't there for the fish or the prizes but for the camaraderie with our fellow anglers.  There was no bragging or chest pounding as to who was catching the biggest or the most and a great time had by all. That was a good derby!

We've had several of these smaller derbies on Okanagan Lake, Shuswap Lake and Arrow Lake, and I do believe everyone that attended had a excellent time there, regardless of what fish were caught.  This of course includes the derby we had just this past weekend when we had 16 boats out, our biggest number to date and a great time again had by all.  So, I'm still trying to figure out where this waste of time attitude comes from when it comes to these smaller derbies.

 A buddy of mine went to the chum derby at Brown's Bay Resort a few weeks ago, LOTS of boats, he said it was a zoo and not that good of a time as far as lack of space on the water.  He did however, enjoy the scenery, the people that went with him and any new anglers he met, so it too was not a waste of time and actually had nothing to do with catching fish.  He wouldn't go to this particular derby again but, would go back at a different time of year, with just personal friends and have his own "mini" derby!  I too pondered these bigger derbies, the one in Port Alberni for example.  When the wife and I drove through PA this past summer we stopped and I picked up some info on their derby.  Good god, 3000 anglers the one year!   2000 the next, can you imagine the number of boats out there!  Wow! A huge event without a doubt but, one that I would avoid I'm afraid, simply because of the sheer numbers of people, I guess I just like my space.  But, if I did happen to go, would it be a waste of time?  I think not, and in fact, it would probably be a hell of an experience for me!   This past summer we went to Critter Cove again and those that went along with us all threw money into the pot for a mini derby.  Was that a waste of time?  I think not, we had a blast.

I guess where all this is going to is this. At what time in an angler's life do they find any derby a waste of time?  My answer to that is, when that person has taken on the persona of being better than those around him, its all a matter of arrogance.  There is no doubt that some anglers are "better" at catching fish but, not "better" at being an angler.  When the time comes that someone achieves the goal (in their mind!) of being a better angler than someone else, its time they hang up their hooks and find another sport.  For this person to assume their level of expertise is better as a angler than another person, they are missing the point entirely as to the sport of fishing.  When comments like this " Plain and simple In your closed derby you are trying to lay down rules to limit the rules of the game to your level." are made, it is more than obvious that that angler is beating his own chest and openly stating that he or she is better!  Its a sad day when one reaches that point of their angling life and it makes me wonder what went wrong with that person when previously they had such an excellent attitude towards the sport of fishing.

Me personally, I like any derby that I can have fun in.  Sure, that could be one of the big commercial kinds of derbies where you get the brand new truck as a prize but, I do enjoy these smaller derbies that we have been having.  It gives one time to stop and meet some new anglers and actually spend time with people rather than worry about catching the big one.  I have always maintained on this site that my goal in fishing is to have fun, not to catch fish.  I don't begrudge anyone from wanting to become a "pro" , although I believe the real pro's are making big bucks and catch fish for a living or have their own TV show.  I'm guessing that the derbies they enter aren't a waste of time either.  So, to whomever wants to take on the arrogant attitude of not wanting to waste time on a fishing derby that is below their standards, organize your own and invite all the pro's and guides you want, maybe they can give you some guidance on what it really means to be an angler.