This seems like an easy question to answer, but the more I think about it, the more complicated it becomes. I think that fishing may actually be something different to everyone.
I think to some it’s just a job, others a pastime, still others a way of life in every sense of the word and even to some, their passion and life’s work.
While it is a physical act, it’s much, much more than that. For me it’s a fun activity to be sure, but it represents unknown frontiers and infinite possibilities. It allows you to go and search for things,that one may have never thought previously possible.
It’s almost an emotion more than a physical thing – and to that end, when I do get that physical thing, that fish, its existence becomes more sublime. What’s the point of having something that disappears so quickly? True beauty and wonder is something that lasts forever and you realize it in that flash of sublimation when you release your fish and they kick off strongly.
What you realize in the strongest sense is that these creatures and these environments have existed for thousands of years and men came and did what you did centuries before you and they will continue to long after your death. It is then that you realize that you get to share in a rich tradition of men who came before you who were much greater, and those in the future who may be greater still.
I was chasing redfish and snook in Homosassa last Saturday, we didn’t boat a single fish, but that didn’t matter. It was arriving at the boat ramp to see smoke rising off the water, the sun barely coming up over the mangrove islands which were dotted with barren and blown down trees standing as totems to the past and exposing the oyster bars which were like landmines. Looking around, you would expect to see and Indian walk through the shrubbery to stare you down. What mattered was the bond that I felt with everything around me and the connection to the past as well as the hope of things unknown, “could this be the day I land an upper to over slot fish on fly?”. Finally it was feeling all of these things while sharing time with a friend that completes things.
Sunday I was down in the Fort Desoto area seeking the very same thing (redfish and snook), again I didn’t boat either of them, but I did land my first barracuda on fly.
After two days of waking up at 5 A.M. and driving an hour, after two days of poling and getting up and down from the platform and looking for fish against the harsh sun, I put a fish in the boat. Regardless, if I didn’t land a fish it wouldn’t have mattered because in the end. I love it. I love everything about fishing.
So if I had to some it up in one word to help clear up the mishmash of my above stream of consciousness it would be this. Love. To me, fishing is love. I think those greater men that I previously spoke of felt similarly. What’s is fishing to you? Think on that.
Until next time, Tight Lines.