What is in a Name

What is in a Name

What is in a name? Well everything if you ask me. Names are how we identify each other and how we recognize the unique qualities that someone or something has. Names mean everything in the world we live in. Even in the world of fishing.

Names are a big part of what brings you to the pages of this magazine every month. Some of you come here to read what Mike McBride has written about or about what Jay Watkins has to say. Heck, there might even be a few of you thinking, "I wonder what that Sommerlatte guy has decided to ramble about this month?" Then there are of course those who come to these pages to learn what might be the "hot" bait out there right now. You might get excited to see the name Corky or Top Dog or something else along those lines. Some are names you recognize and some might be a name that grabs your attention. That is what marketing is all about - brand names.

Then there are of course those of us out there who name our boats. "Don't you know it is bad luck to have a boat without a name," so said the old man to Forrest Gump. The name I choose for a boat can always be tied directly to my life in some manner. For example about ten years ago I named one of my skiffs the Anger Management. It was a trying time in my life where I was pretty unsettled and it did not take much to anger me. From there I moved on to the Compass Star, the Orion 831, the Compass Point and then to the Broken Compass. The compass thing as well as Orion (as in hunter constellation) both can be referenced back to a period of my life where I would have to say I was the happiest I had ever been. I guess it might be obvious by the naming of the last boat when that all came to an end. Regardless though, the naming of a boat is a very personal thing and in my opinion should not be taken lightly.

Moving on - how do you know where you are going to fish come the next day? Chances are you are heading to some place that might have a name like the Lighthouse Lakes or maybe you are going to make the long run to the Land Cut. If you look at any chart ever made it is spattered with names and behind each one of those names there is a story. It might be a story long forgotten but chances are, something special (good or bad) probably happened there some time ago and someone wanted to remember that event.

I once had a friend tell me, "I want you to leave me your charts in your will." I of course asked why and he informed me, "You name every little spot and I know that if it has a name, it is going to be a good place to go fishing." Well we then got into a deep discussion as to why he thought he was going to out-live me but, that is neither here nor there.

But, he is right, I do name all the special little spots that I have come across and I do in fact have a master chart on my computer that I can go into and add any name that I want. It is kind of like my own secret code. Meaning, if I slip up and mention the area I have been fishing and being successful to someone that I do not want to have the information, well, no harm done, they will not have the first clue what I am talking about. What is new, huh? Anyway.

Places like Crack Hole and Too Many Hole immediately come to mind or even Buck Lake or The Hatchery. These are all places where I have found success under certain conditions and are all places that impressed me as worthy of a special name.

As for two of the most recent additions to my chart - Marina's Pond and the Rattlesnake Ponds. Two spring breaks ago I took good friend David Sams and his daughter Marina out for a couple of days of fishing. Incidentally, the first day was the maiden voyage of the Broken Compass and we went into an area that I love to fish in the spring. It is one of the first ponds every year where the widgeon grass starts to grow and we always manage to get three or four shots in there. For years I have been trying to find an interesting name for the pond but no event really stood out enough. That is until Marina saw and sight-casted to her very first redfish. I mean it was awesome to see the look on her face when she recognized the fish, made the cast, and then watched that red pounce on her little DOA shrimp. That was what I was looking for. Not much can compare to the smile on a kiddo's face when the drag is screaming and the event needed to be memorialized. Now, it will not be too difficult to relive twenty or thirty years from now when I have that chart in front of me.

As for how the Rattlesnake Ponds or "the Rattles" received their name. Well, I think the image above says it all. What's in a name? You tell me.

Be good, go slow... and stuff like that.