You have all the right gear for where and how you fish- choice reels, matched rods, precisely right line, impeccable knots, the best terminal set-up – your selection of natural and/or artificials is always right for the bait around and the kinds of fish you will catch. You are comfortable and adept with a fly rod, spinning, open reel, or a homemade bamboo pole. You successfully fish from shore and surf, boat casting and trolling, even bait fishing with chunks or crabs, squid, sandworms, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, earthworms and the occasional corn kernel in fresh water.
You have intimate knowledge of the waters you fish – current, wind, rips, tides, bottom structure, without needing to consult charts (though you have unquestioned understanding of all the technical fishing aids at your disposal) and you almost instantly understand new fishing locations and catch fish in them easily. Your presentation to the fish is always right. Your hooks are always sharp, you can clean, fillet and cook every kind of fish available. You only kill what you keep for the table and carefully revive - catch and release - the rest (and with bait you use barbless hooks).
You have taught generations of kids to fish, starting them with minnows or worms and cane poles for crappies, snappers, porgies, bluegills, porgy, then graduating them to higher skill equipment and situations.
You are always ready to share your great fishing skill with a friend or a rookie., and you are delighted when they have success. You generously take your rookie friend on a fishing excursion, supplying the gear and steady instruction on “how to.” The rookie catches more or bigger fish than you do. And, while your rookie buddy lands the catch of a life time, you, with all your skill and knowledge find that the fishing gods put one of these or the equivalent on your line.
So we learn that while it is good to be expert, the fish has the last word. The fish decides to eat something or not. It seems the odds are still with the fish.