1. Fishing is good for your health.
I get a great night’s sleep after spending time fishing. I believe there are some scientific reasons for this benefit. For me, fishing is a hobby, and it allows me to relax and get my mind away from “stuff” by focusing on catching fish. There are no traffic lights on the river. Sunshine gives my body the vitamin D it needs. The ability to see long distances across open water provides the mind with a needed perspective not available indoors or even in the city. Fishing, especially when using a casting rod or fly rod, is good exercise. Whether by skill or by luck, catching fish gives a sense of accomplishment. Fishing allows extended time to breathe in lots of fresh air.
2. Fishing is a great way to spend time with grandkids.
You might be surprised by how long children can stay focused on fishing. You just have to know the right mixture of driving the boat, snacks, drinks and, of course, managing to put a few fish in the boat.
The only fishing tournament I have ever participated in was one between the boy cousins and the girl cousins. You guessed it. The girls won (if you disregard granddaddy’s gender).
3. Fishing is a great way to spend time with friends.
“Hey Mom, can David and I go camping this weekend with Jimmy and Wayne?” “No”, she said every time. “Well, can we just go out to Jimmy’s pond and fish the rest of the day?” “Well, I guess so,” came the desired reply. That’s what we were after in the first place!
Guys just seem to bond best when there is a little teamwork and scheming involved. And, once you are on the water together with all kinds of rods and reels and tackle boxes full of fake fish food, you have the perfect incubator for a flourishing cooperative dedicated to tricking fish into attacking your hooks.
Besides all that, where is a better place to find such uninterrupted, uninhibited and unscripted conversation?
4. Fishing develops awareness of natural beauty.
With a few notable exceptions, fish are beautiful creatures. But, every trip to the lake, river, pond or creek takes the fisherman into the heart of Creation. Each experience has great potential for surprises. It may be as simple as being startled by a large acorn suddenly breaking the silence of a quiet, still fall afternoon as it thumps loudly into a glass-like surface of the water ending its plummet from a towering tree limb. It may be the exhilarating sight of an eagle or osprey coursing its way up to a perch with talons gripping his catch of the day. It may be when something that just doesn’t look completely appropriate holds your attention until eyes and brain finally connect revealing an incredibly well-camouflaged cottonmouth snake snoozing on that limb a rod’s length from the boat.
5. Fishing provides a rich store of good memories.
My Dad took me fishing early on and often. He taught me volumes about how to catch fish. First with a cane pole sitting along the causeway in Decatur. Then he rigged up cane poles with fly line tied to the end and taught David and me the basics of fly fishing. Memories of him awakening me before daylight remain vivid after all these years. A couple of boiled eggs were always ready along with salt and pepper to warm me before we drove out to Flint Creek to walk along the shoreline casting a jitterbug or wading the weed beds near the boat harbor in tennis shoes and blue jeans reeling an Hawaiian Wiggler. This was before he could afford a boat, and yes, we caught our share of bass that way! I can honestly say, I loved fishing before fishing was “cool”. Countless times I’ve been rewarded with a good strike by placing a bait beside a rock or stump just the way he taught me to do it. I wonder how many pages I could fill with stories, but let me just say, “Thanks, Dad!”
6. Fishing success is hard to predict.
About the time I retired, one of those smart phones found its way into my shirt pocket. And it didn’t take long for me to discover an app with a calendar showing the likelihood of catching fish. I was so excited, and for a while it had me fooled. But, over the long haul, I had to admit that reality was not matching the predictions of the app. What it did was to confirm lesson number 7.
7. The best day to go fishing is whatever day you can go.
One principal learned in childhood that has never faded is that you finish your work before you play. Not that I have never broken the rule, but, to this day the level of enjoyment and even success are diminished by the thought of work left undone for the sake of a fishing trip. Consequently, the weather, wind direction and feeding frenzy of the fish do not always coincide with a “free day”. Whoever said, “A bad day fishing beats a good day at work” was on to something. Fortunately, I have always enjoyed working, too.
8. Politicians should fish more often.
You either have fish in the live well or you don’t. No amount of rhetoric will change that.
It would give them a chance to get involved in something that smells a little fishy in a positive way.
And it would be OK to bait and switch all day long.
9. If it fights hard enough to bend my rod, any old fish will do.
I walked down to the river’s edge yesterday and only caught one shad. He was a good 18 inches long and, yes, he managed to bend the lightweight rod, and I enjoyed the fight.
I do love catching bass. And I prefer to catch a smallmouth over a largemouth. You’d have to be there to understand why a fisherman would ever prefer anything small over anything large.
Ninety-five percent of the fish I catch I immediately release. My father-in-law has a hard time understanding this because he really loves eating fish. And, I’m sure a lot of folks feel the same. But, let me ask you, “Do golfers eat golf balls?”.
Finally, it’s a lot cheaper to buy fish at the grocery store than it is to own a boat, fishing tackle and buy gas to get you to the fish!
10. The more you fish, the more you want to go fishing.
As I am writing, the weather is turning colder, wetter and too brutal for this cold-natured mortal. But I know there will be some comparatively warm days squeezed between now and the return of Spring. Those days will serve as stepping-stones across the weeks of dreary days better left to younger souls for getting out on the water. Few of those days will pass without a thought about memories from last year and anticipation of the next time the days are longer and warmer. I can hardly wait to go fishing again!