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I fish therefore I am
The reason to be
Why?

Do anglers ever question why they fish? It would seem that most of the content in magazines and on-line discussion is more about how and what is the best rod, line, lure, fly, etc. Where the best fishing can be had is right up there with tech talk. Why do we care? We obviously find something important in the pursuit of fish to the point that some become almost obsessed with fishing and the passion is in all anglers to varying degrees. I have pondered why the passion and desire to fool a fish and land it and in most cases let it go is so damn important.

Once when Judi my wife was asked if she went with me on fishing trips she said "Yes" and then was asked "Do you fish?" she replied "No, but I love the places fish live!" We just returned from a trip and it was beautiful and a wonderful place but she seemed to have as good a time as I did without fishing. I guess I could start the list with #1 fish live in beautiful places

I was guiding a young man last summer on a small stream. We saw a brook trout feeding in the current by a large rock. I explained how to approach the fish in the best position to cast the fly to be successful. His approach was that of a true predator, low to the water, carefully placing his feet as he moved into position, his eyes fixed on the prey. The cast was made and the fish took the fly instantly. His demeanour changed to a look of fear, would the fish get away? The fish landed and released back to the water a smile from ear to ear and success was sweet. Why would he fear losing the fish? It was going to be released as quickly as possible. You cannot lose something you never possessed. Is it the adrenalin rush of deceiving the fish to take the fly, the fear of losing the satisfaction of completing the task and in losing the fish feel a loss? The joy of success and the release back to the water is the end of the event that leads to satisfaction that brings on the desire to do it again. Could it be that fishing gives a natural high, devoid of flashing lights, drugs etc. If so #2 could be that fishing gives one a sense of satisfaction and a natural high.

Each angler experiences different feelings, methods, reasons to pursue fish as the journey unfolds as years go by. It could be called the evolution of an angler. I first started fishing with a pole and worms for bait. The objective at the time was to catch as many as possible and numbers were the important thing. This made way for the next stage which was for me the biggest fish. The next stage was the method I was using. I saw a spinning rod and when I finally got one I repeated stage one and two with the spinning rod with lures instead of worms. Then I was after the big fish with a spinning rod using lures before I entered the next stage which was a fly rod. This for me took a different direction. After initial success with big fish I became motivated to catch the big fish with the smallest tackle I could use with success. I caught a number of salmon with an 8 ft 5 wt rod before I retired it when the retention of salmon was illegal. With the small rod the salmon was fought to exhaustion and at the time we were keeping them so it wasn't an issue until they had to be released. The use of small rods and terminal tackle should be balanced to the size of the fish and if the fish is to be released. Fighting a fish to exhaustion means to me if I let it go it has a lesser chance of survival than one that is fought quickly and released back to the water as soon as possible.

I fly fished for years and then got back into bait casters and spinning rods and still used the fly rod when conditions and the law demanded. This is not to say I stopped fly fishing but expanded my fishing with different tackle and species. I was at the time a well rounded angler and competent with any tackle and species and at that at the time it was what this stage of my journey was my passion. Thru all of this my best fishing was top-water and to me is what I love to do with any type of fishing. I will go deeper if that is what it takes but as a matter of personal preference I fish the surface if at all possible. Now I am fishing with my fly rod most of the time and striving for surface action with any species that will co-operate. This is what some would call elitist stage but considering how it came to be for me it is just what I do now in this journey We all evolve to different places and derive our pleasure in different ways but all of us share the same passion for fishing. I guess #3 would be fishing is a lifetime activity.

I would now like to go back to #1. Fish live in beautiful places. While fishing I have had the pleasure of observing flora and fauna and learning about different flowers and birds. Who knew that there was five species of orchids on the bogs where I fish? The different songs different bird species sing at different times of the year. Plants that have medicinal uses are all around us. All these things give me pleasure and even to some have nothing to do with the act of fishing if you take the time pleasure comes from surprising places. These wonderful places inspire me to take photographs and do sketches and paintings of the places where fish live. #4 all to fishing is not fish!

Sorry for the long post but trust me I could go on as the reason we have this passion to me now is more important than the how to do it. I challenge you now to help me out and expand the number of reasons why it is so damned important that we fish!
 
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perry thank you for sharing with us all once again

its great when someone else can sum up another persons feelings
a lot of times even before the other person has realized that's how they feel


P.S for me #5 on the list would be camaraderie
 

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Great post Perry. In reading that, it's like music to my ears. I feel I can relate to virtually everything written.

To compliment #1 on your list, a friend of mine once said that fishing to him was one of the closest ways one can connect with nature. I personally feel this is absolutely the case, especially when I am waste deep in a cool flowing river trying to entice a fish to strike a small fly.

-dave
 

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Classic! I echo the words of perry, shienar and dave....

For me #7 would be, the peace of nature. How it has the astute ability to calm my worries and cares once I am with in it. It does nothing special with me in mind; nothing changes physically. Though the peace that my soul attains and the calm in my head once in nature, to me is priceless and can't be bought in any store or put in a box and wrapped.

Fish, bring me peace.
 

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Hi;

I love philosophy, the quest for the meaning of life; the right, the true, and the good. Fishing gives me the best opportunities to sort out all that. And it's great for slacking off and daydreaming, too.


But as that insightful deep thinker, Pat McManus, once cautioned those of us who love to stare at water--

"Scholars have long known that fishing eventually turns men into philosophers. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to buy decent tackle on a philosopher's salary" .

cheers,

chuck

P.S.-- I suspect that, psychologically speaking, the angling obsession has much in common with the gambling addiction, i.e., the need for re-assurance that God still loves us.
-- C. F.

Addendum--

"I think I fish, in part, because it's an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution." John Gierach
 

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a-las people with the same thoughts as i .i grew up with a rod in my hands , put there surprisingly by my mother and aunt .i grew up on the south shore , fishing salt water species and brookies , didn't matter too much what it was , if the weather was warm , my parents knew i'd be at the wharf , probably fishing for rock crabs if no macreal or pollack were around .then i grew old enough to start bicycling around and mobility brought on new ''freedom'' . i then concentrated more on the fresh water species , in particular salmon . but as stated by perry , what convinces a person to try new things .i can remember the fulfilment of the first brookies caught on flies that i tied myself , then that was not enough . then i had to reach a new platou . i then accomplished catching salmon on my own tied flies , and then my own patterns . it all became a haze for the next decade , burning desire was still there though , so what next .eventually , i landed in the valley , and was introduced to smallmouth . I was then hit with a new challenge, to try to deceive this wonderfull creature as much as possible . the largest brookie i had ever caught until then was only 15 inches long , there were fish being caught in front of me that were 16-17-18-21 inches long . i litterally was like a junkie in a trance salivating . not on the creatures flesh , no , something even sweeter to me . the new high of cathing a fish like that .it eventually did happen , and thankfully still does , i'm still a student of different ways to catch large fish however . through the local bass club i have found the comeradity spoken of earlier as well. now what ? i could go to larger tournaments , but they are losing their ''buzz'' .lately i have been going back to my ''roots'' {sort of} . now i have been still after the large fish , but have been doing so with the bucktails and jigs that i tie . fulfilment again . now i also try to bring other people into this wonderfull sport we all love , also try to use this ''love'' to do better in the community .if knowledge is power , do we feel empowered when we accomplish our goals? once we reach them ,do we need to feel more empowerment , fulfilment. or is fishing just a combination of so many good feelings that we feel complexed to do it more , bigger , better . with the commeradity , i do like it , but do you not feel the ''urge'' to go alone for the solitude as well , i do . sorry for the exessiveness , i just can't put a finger on one , or a few reasons , they change every day . it is just ''priceless''.
 

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Not much a person can add, except for me, I will have the same blast of adrenaline with the fish I catch tomorrow or next month as I did with my first fish so many years ago. Funny thing is even though I seek that rush often times I get side tracked by the surroundings and don't make a cast. Really quite a question when you start thinking.

Greg
 

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great read, Thanks Perry!
that'd make a great magazine article!
 

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Years ago in England there was a TV fishing series and on one episode an old boy who must have been well into his seventies was filmed fishing an urban canal in the north of England. There were factories all around him shopping carts in the water and an oily scum on the surface. He was asked why he went fishing.
His reply was "He was escaping the dragon for a few hours"
The interviewer put it this way..
"In search of monsters while escaping dragons"
Are we not always in search of that monster??
It still brings a smile to my face when I think of that old guy.
 

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To compliment #1 on your list, a friend of mine once said that fishing to him was one of the closest ways one can connect with nature. I personally feel this is absolutely the case, especially when I am waste deep in a cool flowing river trying to entice a fish to strike a small fly.

i couldn't agree more.
 

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Great topic Perry. I've thought about it often enough to know that I don't have a definitive answer beyond; I just love to fish and I don't think that there are degree's of love and passion. I mean, I don't believe that one can love something or someone just a little bit... you just love them. Can we love fishing, hunting and the outdoors? The thought of it being taken away pains me in a way that I care not to think about it. At the same time, we (some) go to great lengths to protect it. So yes; we just love it for what it does to us.
If that sounds too wierd... we could be golfers


We get to see this stuff too and if this don't float your boat, well...


Cheers,
Rob
 

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Rob, great image!
 

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Fantastic stuff guys! It is a "pure" love, that is certain. Fishing and being in the outdoors gives one the feeling of truly being alive, whether by myself or with good friends it always makes me feel great.

The feelings of anticipation that run through when launching the boat at the crack of dawn, water is like glass, air is cool and we begin slowly idling down the still waters while your best friend is beside you, both begin putting the rods together and tying on the "lure" you dreamed about all night, the lure that you have narrowed down to being the "one", then it's the first Hit of the morning, the drag peel and the run of the line cutting the tension of the waters surface....for that moment, that second, no matter what species of fish or size of fish - life is perfect.
You look over at your best friend and it's just quick modest smile, no words need to be spoken, both people know its another wonderful day. A day that takes you away from all the crap that we go through in our lifetime, a day where ospreys and eagles grab your attention and hold it, a day where the shore lunch is accompanied by a short walk in the forest to inspect the "new" area.
Then comes the drive home which seems to end up being the full recap of the day, there is no need to explain the day to your friend as he was there for every moment, it's just that we don't want it to end and it seems the entire day from the first fish to the last is recalled and spoken about with a great passion. This then leads to thoughts of the next time, the next cast, the next lake to test our skill and of course, thoughts on the next lure. The cycle continues.

Perry, I've never forgot those words from your wife since I read them a few years back. I couldn't agree with her more....."I love the places fish live"

I've been already planning my work schedule, looks like I'll be home the entire month of May! I can't wait!!
 
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