I was recently asked the question, “Why do you go fishing?” After much thought I came up with an easy answer, “It’s fun and I enjoy the outdoors.” Later in the evening that question began to creep into my head and I began to realize that my love of fishing is about more than just fun.
I can still remember my very first fishing trip with my dad. He took me to an old bridge that had been converted to a fishing pier. I’ll never forget my first catch, an octopus. When I reeled it up it shot purple ink everywhere, much to the amusement of the other anglers on the pier. There was much hoopla and scurrying about as they all came to help subdue and return the octopus to the water. Oh how I wish there were instant cameras in everyone’s pockets back then, like there are today. However, even without cameras I have a very vivid picture of that event in my memory.
I’m pretty sure that morning on the pier was where the fishing bug bit me. From that point on all things water related, including fishing, were the end-all be-all of most of my thoughts. As I got a bit older I began watching a television series called The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. I also devoured his books. The interest I showed in the subject was rewarded with other books about the sea, beaches and fishing from my parents and grandparents. I remember wanting to spend time on a research vessel like Cousteau’s Calypso and sail the world studying the creatures that inhabited the waters and oceans.
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
While the idea of becoming a marine biologist slowly fell by the wayside, my love of fishing didn’t. I continued to study and read about all things ocean related and found I could apply much of that knowledge to what most people think is an easy pastime. Guess what? It isn’t.
To be good at fishing requires a lot of hard work which entails a great deal of trial and error. So perhaps the lure (no pun intended) of fishing to me is the never ending learning curve. Even a bad day fishing is a way of learning what NOT to do the next time a lure is tossed into the water. Getting better at fishing also requires time. Lots of time.
Why do I go fishing?
First – I go fishing to take away all the troubles of the day. I find fishing to be an amazing mind eraser. While some small issue may pop up at any time, it disappears with the slightest tug on the line. All focus goes to the moment at hand and my concentration is never greater or broken until the fish is landed.
Second – I love not knowing what’s on the other end of the line. In the world of saltwater fishing there are a multitude of fish swimming in our bays and along the coastline. Many fishermen have a bucket list of species that they continuously try to expand. I’ve been fishing for close to 60 years and I still occasionally catch something that I have no idea what it is. Considering the amount of time I’ve spent fishing, that’s pretty amazing.
Third – I love to introduce both the young and old to the sport of fishing. It’s gratifying to see a smile on a face after someone lands their first fish. I had a charter client who took his first fishing trip with me years ago and his first catch was, believe it or not, an octopus. I told him my story about my first catch. Not long ago he contacted me to wish me well and told me that he has now fished in three different countries.
That’s why I go fishing.