What is the definition of the term "Googan"?

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Video what is a googan

This is a bit long-winded, but bear with me….

So what, if any, is the proper definition of a googan? It’s certainly not something that Merriam Webster might explain. So what’s your perception of the term?

When I hear the term googan, I think of the folks that leave their litter, human waste, balls of tangled line or the sun-rotted fish that they killed and later decided that they didn’t want. I think of folks who don’t look around them to understand that there may be folks in a rotation at the end of a jetty and just barge out to the tip and squat down, or that they’re way above the high tide mark on private beach properties or cutting through driveways upsetting the owners. I perceive googans to be folks who paddle a kayak into the path of a powerboat that is trolling a rip and then scream about their right of way, or the power boater that cuts-off or wakes the yak guy snotfully whispering to his buddy about his “right of weight”. I’m talking about the folks who, when politely and respectfully corrected, take offense at the intrusion and either ignore the guidance or become defensive and aggressive.

I don’t think of googans as new fishermen who make honest mistakes or seasonal folks with their big-box saltwater combos and the usual army of kids. As long as they are courteous and respectful of others and of the environmental issues they’re fine folks and deserve to be there as well as the seasoned surf veteran.

Here’s the reason that I ask:

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I read with great interest, the editorial in the December issue of On The Water. Editor Chris Megan started out his article describing a surf-fishing trip with Steve McKenna and underwater filmmaker Mike Laptew. Though about halfway through the article it became clear that Chris was using the article to “spin” Steve McKenna as the ultimate fishing gentleman. It was a great job of pointing out the glaringly obvious. I have never met Mr. McKenna, but his reputation as a great surf fisherman and benevolent person precede him and I have never heard an unkind word about the man. I have, however, heard many folks (including myself) take issue with his article that pointed out details that, in most fishing circles (P.S. for the perpetually paranoid, this does not infer cliques or secret clubs) to be over-the-top. Big deal. The man made a mistake. I’m ok with that. Hopefully he’ll be more cognizant of EVERY fisherman, not just new folks. God Bless the man and his skills. I don’t think he needed Chris Megan’s spin at all.

But what really gets stuck in my craw is that Chris Megan goes on to define the term “googan” without qualifying it as his understanding of the word for all of his reading audience. He has the audacity to look down the end of his nose at folks who use the term because HE is uncomfortable with HIS perception of the term.

Bottom line?

Steve McKenna is a great fisherman who wrote a questionable article. Everybody makes a mistake. I hope he doesn’t repeat his outline in the future, but even if he did he’d still be a heckuva fisherman and a nice guy to his (ever widening) circle of acquaintances.

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Chris Megan seems to be the self-appointed defender of the (perceived defensless) inexperienced fisherman, the definitive authority on subjective slang and seems to believe that those who use the term “googan” have anointed themselves with yet another loose slang term, “Sharpie”. That just frosts my butt.

Chris is probably a nice guy. Maybe even a generous man. And possibly a good fisherman to boot. But he is certainly off the mark with his perception of me, my friends, and his own ideals regarding spot-burning and those who wish to preserve the dwindling rights or fishermen and cooperation with land owners that are forged by the long time surf guys.

Sorry for the rant – I’d probably see eye-to-eye with Mr. Megan on most fishing related topics. But in this editorial he makes assumptions about one population while condemning them for making assumptions about another.

I’m sure Chris meant well.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>