If you spend much time in the outdoor community, you’ll find that friendly competition is a very common theme. I took my kids on dozens of fishing trips before they reached adulthood, and they still joke about the trip where, “Heather caught the most, Eric caught the biggest, and Dad had the most grey hair.” Most of us have stories like that, and they are some of our favorite memories, but there is a dark side to competition that it is important to acknowledge.
Human competition too often devolves into jealousy and hatred. If someone has more than I do, I’m going to do my best to take some of theirs; or worse, I have plenty but I’m going to continue to acquire and accumulate so that others will never have enough and suffer because of my greed. And let’s not forget that for most of us the sting of losing is much greater than the joy of winning. That’s not healthy and too often drives us to compete in unhealthy manners. Far too often human competition is rooted in much darker motives than survival. As outdoorsmen, we are lucky enough to view competition in nature. It can be brutal, but it’s never based on jealousy or hate. It’s never personal. It’s always about survival. On the Gulf Coast we can watch a school of Redfish going on a feeding frenzy. It’s a competition to see who can get that baitfish first, and there is the competition to reproduce best seen in Deer and Elk, or the competition for space and habitat. So where does that leave humans?
At Bay Flats Lodge we want to be part of a community of people who love the outdoors and make our living sharing that love with others. We want to be a part of the community of guides who are taking people fishing and hunting and teaching new generations to care for this planet. We want to participate in the community of lodges that provide food, accommodations and access to these sports we love so much, and we want to find that balance where everyone is in a healthy position and no one is left out.
In other words, we try to seek balance. Our guides are a bunch of competitive guys but they do their best to help each other. They know everyone catching fish is better than just one or two guides being successful. We want to find balance in our use of the natural resources as well. When it comes to the waters we fish and hunt we want to make sure we give more than we take. It’s part of the reason we’re partnering with CCA to keep Cedar Bayou open and building new wetlands.
Competition in nature, unlike competition in humans, tend to lead ecologies to find balance. When an ecology gets out of balance because the apex predators are removed or a species is introduced that disrupts the balance bad things follow. Species and individual animals in a balanced ecology don’t acquire in an attempt to starve others. They only take and use what they need. This balanced approach to life makes a healthy environment for all species involved.
This morning I ate breakfast with two of our guests who mentioned they frequent another lodge south of us on a yearly basis. I told them how much respect we have for that lodge and the people who run it and how much we enjoy seeing them when we have the chance. Interestingly enough our customers said their friends down south say the same things about us.
Thanks, as always, for reading. We can’t wait to sit down over dinner with you and hear about the friendly competition you waged over the water.
Manager Bay Flats Lodge