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Optimist always hits with next cast

For anglers, the next cast is one that still holds the promise of a magnificent catch.

Fishing is the epitome of optimism. Its practitioners take new hope and big dreams every time they go to the water. Every trip is a fresh opportunity. Every cast has new potential.

No matter how many failed attempts have preceded it, the next cast is the one we believe may connect.

Like the golfer who believes every shot has a chance of rolling into the hole, the angler believes the next cast may result in a 6-pound walleye, a fat largemouth bass or a crappie as wide as the dinner plates in your kitchen cupboard.

I am one of angling’s eternal optimists. As you enjoy your Saturday morning coffee, I am on Mosquito Lake today, my boat’s casting deck littered with rigs I am certain will help me catch a bunch of bass.

As we meander past Labor Day and football weather takes the heat from our local lakes, we fishers have good reason to be optimistic. Walleyes, bass, catfish, pike, muskies and panfish are energized by the cooling water.

The odds will improve as we fish through fall, but try as we might, our efforts will never net a 1.000 batting average. I may make 2,000 casts today on Mosquito, yet I’ll be delighted if I net 10 bass.

Even the hacker golfer eventually puts the ball in the hole, but legion are the anglers who go home fishless.

There is no such thing as a sure bet in fishing.

Nevertheless, the next cast is the one we can hardly wait to make.

Winding up for the next cast is like waiting for the kickoff of tomorrow’s Cleveland Browns game. It’s a fresh start at a time when whatever happened in the past doesn’t matter.

The next cast is your opportunity to put failures in the rearview mirror. Like the golfer who forgets bogeys when the birdie putt falls, the angler rejoices when the 999th cast finally connects.

Every short fish we catch is one cast closer to the biggest fish we’ve ever caught.

Hope abounds in the world of fishing. Who doesn’t hatch a limit-catching game plan the night before a fishing trip? Who doesn’t scout for the freshest bait or the hottest lures? Who doesn’t drive to the boat ramp bounding with enthusiasm about the morning’s first strike?

When a lure isn’t working, anglers reach for a new one with conviction that it will be the one to break the ice. When a location isn’t producing, we fire up the outboard and chug off to another place where we hope the fish are biting.

I do all of that. You probably do, too. It’s in our DNA. We’re anglers, optimistic from first cast to last that something big is going to happen.

Jack Wollitz is a lifelong angler who believes every cast is priceless. He writes about fishing in Trumbull and Mahoning counties and elsewhere in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. He also enjoys emails from readers. Send a note to Jack at jackbbaass@gmail.com.