I don’t have it, but I can diagnose it in a heartbeat–obsessive-compulsive fishing disorder (OCFD). During my career in sportfishing I have witnessed thousands who possess this life-changing syndrome.

A phenomenon that has broken marriages and lost jobs, it is also the lifeblood running through many an angler’s veins. To be cleansed or cured of it, well, those afflicted would rather not (thank you very much).

More often appearing in men than women, full-blown OCFD can be equally severe in either gender.

A true professional, someone who works at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, or your local bait shop, is best qualified to confirm an OCFD diagnosis. Here are the top 20 signs to look for:

  1. Your Facebook profile picture is you holding a fish.
  2. The first selection criteria for home purchase or rental is the perfect and permanent spot for the boat and trailer.
  3. You think about fishing every five minutes or less.
  4. You have a closet full of logo’d shirts, sweatshirts and hats with your favorite fishing and boat brands.
  5. If you live north of the 41st parallel, you own a winter version of that wardrobe with ice fishing brands, too.
  6. Regardless of the climate that you live in, your jacket has a boat brand logo on it.
  7. You match your truck to your boat and trailer.
  8. You have bins and bins (and tubs and tubs) of crankbaits–and still buy more.
  9. You speak in code. For example: “We put the beat on some slabs yesterday.” Your friends understand your code. Your spouse’s friends don’t.
  10. If you are single you’re not sure the right person is worth giving up time on the water.
  11. Vacation days are for fishing, as are holidays, weekends, and when one lives in close proximity to a great fishery, the time in between sleeping.
  12. You will sleep in your truck at a boat landing, especially after driving all night after work to get there. You might have a mattress in the back for just such occasions.
  13. You have shunned people from your family circle because they didn’t know who KVD was.
  14. If you ever fished a tournament, regardless of where you finished, you looked to see who you did better than, and you’re okay finishing in the bottom half as long as you did better than a past champion.
  15. You watch live-stream tournament weigh-ins and if something goes wrong with the stream you post on a fishing chat forum and ask what’s wrong with the live stream.
  16. Your fishing chat forum name is tied to your boat or your favorite species to fish.
  17. Double headers are not about baseball.
  18. You use SPF 50, yet you have suntan raccoon eyes from your polarized sunglasses.
  19. You love Rapala billboards, but you may or may not say “Rapala” correctly.
  20. You are never bored. There are always hooks to sharpen and reels to respool.

The tug is the drug. You’re hooked and addicted. Fishing is who you are, not what you do. Yup…you’ve got it all right.

K.J. Houtman is the author of the award-winning Fish On Kids Books series, chapter books for eight- to 12-year-olds with adventures based around fishing, camping, and hunting. Her work is available at Amazon and local bookstores. Find out more at fishonkidsbooks.com.

Image courtesy Denis Kreze

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9 thoughts on “Twenty Signs of Obsessive-compulsive Fishing Disorder

  1. Well its either a 19 out 20 or a close 20 out of 20! How about a cover photo of the back your boat with fishing rods hanging over the side?

  2. I tally 18 out of 20. What if you buy rods for your wife knowing they are the exact same rod you want a double of, and let her use it when she out with you?

  3. Grew up on walleye lake in MN.Been trying to get back there ever since.Worked in bait shop in my Pop’s Marina from age 9 on. Lucky to have found husband who understands & is willing to stand for hours surf fishing w/me on Boca, crappie fishing in IN & planning on summer retirement in MN, winter on Gulf in FL. I’ve got it bad & not looking for a cure:-)

  4. Im in highschool and everytime me and a fishing buddy is next to me in a class we talk all hour about ethier a new rod and reel, a new lure, or how many we caught. When we get on computers we look up fishing videos and new lures and rods while the teacher is not looking!

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