Why Do I Fish?
As part of an email discussion list I'm part of, the subject of following our passions came up. I mentioned that one of my lifelong passions was fishing. I got the following reply...
Thanks, John for sharing your passion with us. So -- John -- when you are fishing... What do you enjoy most and why? I've never fished and would like to understand your passion better.
That made me stop and think. Why did I spend so much time with a line in the water? Or reading about fishing? Or watching fishing TV shows and videos? What did I get from that, that I don't get from other things? Here's how I answered her...
One of the best things about fishing is that it can be different things on different days. Some days, I can set up a chair on the beach, throw my line out, and just stare at the horizon and listen to the water. With the fishing rod, I'm fishing. Without it, I'm a loony without a clock tower ;-). On those days, I may or may not catch anything. It really doesn't matter. When the sun goes down and I leave, I feel renewed and totally relaxed.
On other days, I have to catch something. Solving the puzzle -- where are the fish and what will get them to bite -- is important. So is the execution -- doing things just right, as evidenced by that electric tug on the line.
Did I mention that fresh fish, well prepared, is one of the greatest eating pleasures on this earth?
Fishing as an activity can also be solitary or social. Catching fish is cool, so is not catching any. When you're out with good friends and that magic day hits when all goes perfectly right, you come away with stories that brighten your eyes for years in the retelling. On the days when the fish don't bite, you can spend time in conversation, solving the worlds' problems or your own. Sometimes there's the quiet time, when all of you can sit back and bask in the feeling that you are all doing exactly what you chose to do, with people you chose to spend time with.
Finally, (bet you didn't think I'd make, did you), I practically grew up in a fishing boat. My folks had a cabin on a lake in Minnesota where I spent hours in an old rowboat with my Dad and my grandfather. Listening to them, and later joining in, taught me a lot of what I know about being a man. Those evenings of watching for the bobbers to sink are some of my best memories.
As a labor of love, I have a web site called Outdoor Adventures (no longer operating). I'd like to share the opening with you.
"Why do we venture outdoors? It makes us alert, pulls us out of ourselves, and engages us in something bigger. It's a restorative that cleanses us when we've become muddied and makes us healthy when we've become sickened. It's a brace against pessimism."
I hope I've been able to let you feel a little of what I feel for this wondrous pastime.