At the BassNblog Bass and Me, which I just found, blog author Nitewraith has a post entitled: Fishing Has Made Me Wealthy. He starts out by saying;
As I sat today waiting for my Fraternal Order of Eagles district meeting to start I had time to contemplate my life, and I came to the following conclusion — Every man or woman, rich or poor, who has fished is a “millionaire.”
Now you might think to yourself, “What in the blue blazes is he talking about?” And normally you would be right, but think about it this way. It may not be reflected in the fishermen’s wallet or checkbook and you may have a poor credit rating, but even the modest fisherman is a millionaire — his wealth is in his heart and in his experience.
The sentimentality of that may be right on, but how about a literal interpretation.
How much is the real worth of time spent in the pursuit of bass?
I suppose one might answer that this is mostly a subjective question because Rich Lindgren will give you one answer and Paris Hilton would probably give you another and every individual would probably appraise the value differently.
I suppose if I were a trained economist, accountant, statistician or mathematician I could run the available numbers in a scientific manner and give answers that would have an heir of objectivity. Since I am none of these things I have a few very unscientific approaches as food for thought.
On the long drive up to the cabin one night in the 1990's I thought to myself about how much someone would have to pay me an hour for me to give up my time fishing. I thought the answer to this question could determine the value that I placed on my fishing. I remember that after some thought the answer I came up with was a minimum of $30 per hour. Nobody at that time or since has offered to pay me $30 an hour to work instead of fish and the fact of the matter is I have placed fishing as a much higher priority in my life than making myself rich with material goods.
Another approach to think about is a quantification of the value of my fishing equipment from a historical perspective. The richest man in the world 100 years ago could not with all his money buy the fishing technology that I have at my fingertips right now. Every Caesar in all the splendor of Rome never once was able to cast a Team Daiwa X-103 HSPF. The craftsmanship and engineering precision that goes into a stock $7 Rapala crankbait is something on par with the works of master artisans of ages past. I have some pretty nice fishing equipment; It's better than most but not nearly what many others have when you factor in the big retail items like boats, motors, tow vehicles, high end fishing electronics, and the highest end fishing tackle. From a historical perspective what I do have puts me and thousands of others in a state of incomprehensible wealth to hundreds of previous generations of the human race.
Or how about this angle: Forbes can tell you about the net worth of the richest men in the world. I wonder who has the highest net worth in terms of fishing equipment at their disposal and what kind of astronomical sum there collection of toys might come to at retail value. Now I would assume that whoever the person with the highest net worth in fishing equipment loves fishing and gets a great deal of enjoyment out of their pursuit of fish. I will presume to say however that this persons love and enjoyment of the sport does not far surpass my own. In fact when it comes to the payoff from our equipment we may very well be equals, therefore what I have is to me worth equal to what the richest man in fishing has spent.
And the last angle to be considered for now is specific to bass fishermen. Take the top money making bass tournament fishermen in the coarse of a single year with all they have earned in paybacks and add to that all they have paid in entry fees and put the two together; Then divide that by the number of hours spent in angling tournaments and you could come out with the value of spending an hour on the water bass fishing for any given year. Once again this conclusion is reached by the equating of the pleasure of the experiences between bass anglers being somewhat close to equal no matter if they are fishing a tournament or not. This one, however, is probably the weakest angle because it is almost certainly true that the pleasure derived from catching fish in the clutch while in the crucible of high stakes professional tournament angling is a rush unmatched in your average catch of a keeper bass, but then again maybe not. You can decide for yourself on the merits of these ramblings.
"I'm either on to something, or I'm on something" as the Dan "The Common Man" Cole would say.