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Contemplating the net gain
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My buddy Danny said I should start a website.

This was sometime in the late spring. I could post columns, fishing tips, things like that, and people could visit and read about my most frequent mishaps, or maybe even get some insight.

During a fishing trip on the Upper Sacramento River a few weeks ago Danny again pitched the idea, this time with a focus on gear reviews.

He was using fresh-from-the-box chest waders that cost $60. At first, “they only cost $60”. He felt like a bargain shopper. After they broke twice on two falls, the thick rubber seams in the crotch forced him to ride an invisible pony to prevent chafing while the rubber on the lower leg fused with his calf hair and they started smelling like burnt latex, his tone changed.

“I can’t believe these things cost $60.” He now almost felt ripped off.

The website he re-recommended might save an anglers’ lower leg hair or inner thighs.

I entertained the idea again. I imagined a well-visited site with comments, pictures and useful information guiding anglers and outdoorsmen to good books, gear, campsites or weekend trips.

But as I considered further, I hesitated.

There is a responsibility to provide a service to my fellow man, and a terrible power that comes with adding to the information available on the net so in came the self-doubt.

As the great omniscient philosopher Michael Scott said:

“Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject, so you know you are getting the best possible information.”

First off, would anyone subscribe to my website other than my mother? If so, would I be able to provide “the best possible information” to keep the hits coming? What do I really have to say that would have any sort of impact on the outdoor lives of others?

And the big one – what if people think I am a fraud?

It can be a terrible thing to be rejected, or for someone to think you don’t have what it takes.

A few years ago I sent a query letter to Field and Stream magazine. Three months later they sent me a letter on pretty Field and Stream stationary saying they weren’t interested. Other publishers haven’t been interested either and some of my stuff has sat in inboxes for months with no response at all.

As a writer I get excuses that girls once gave me when they weren’t interested but didn’t have the heart to just level with me. This all manifested itself into an excuse to once again balk at Danny’s suggestion.

After milling about in self doubt, I was reminded of when I left an island in Alaska for college in Arizona, with no clue about little things like you’re not supposed to wear socks with sandals or where to get SPF 300 sunscreen for my tender Alaskan skin.

I thought of when I moved to Manteca from Tucson to start a teaching career as a clueless 22-year old, and finally about that summer afternoon three years ago I sent an e-mail to the Manteca Bulletin asking if they would be interested in what I had to say.

In those three instances, I didn’t think twice, and they all turned out exceptionally well.

That nicely typed rejection letter on ornate Field and Stream stationary hangs in my gear room. Last week I looked at it, smiled and realized that “no” is the worst that could happen. I sat down at my lap-top and went to work on

To contact Jeff Lund, email