I love the fisherman’s high. At a very young age I was lucky enough to have a father who took me fishing and a mother who supported my outdoor endeavors. Some of my fondest memories are set within casting distance of a body of water. As a result, I have grown with an appreciation of the outdoors and nurtured qualities such as those that a fisherman would have. I grew patience waiting for a bite, respect when handling a fish, and, most important of all, a desire to show others why I love what I do.
This is not just a fishing story or how-to or wistful musings from times of old. This is a plea from a member of the next generation to show all of us, fisherman or not, your secrets, values, and passion.
I am a young man born and raised in Colorado who knows all too well other addictive mediums that kids in my age group use. They look for some sort of escape or fulfillment in their lives that they have trouble finding. Some end up glued to television screens and game controllers living viscerally through their online persona. They fall out of touch with their real lives and lose knowledge of what lives they could lead. Some end up plastering their faces on social media to find personal satisfaction in stranger’s comments and “likes”. Others still will resort to violence and misbehavior for the excitement and attention gleaned from overt acts. All end up detached from the outdoors as a personal outlet.
One of my close friends, prior to taking him fishing, told me, “My parents say that we’re a hotel family.” He was not young, not poor, not disabled. His family came down a long line of “hotel people” and he was set on a path that life, modern life, has handed to him. All his life lead to believe that going fishing is boring and when you go you never catch anything anyway so why bother. His few trips, to no one’s fault, were done in ignorance. Wrong bait, wrong tackle, wrong place, wrong time, throwing rocks, swimming dogs the list is endless.
Well on our trip, he went with a fisherman. Now he ties the rigs and baits the hooks that catch the fish he’s looking for. One trip. The birth of a fisherman. Now he has actually experienced the fulfilling sport of fishing and asks me to take him more. Now the problem is that although I have showed him our sport I cannot always be there to support his growth. His parents do not take him and his family does not fish so that it falls to me to give him the opportunities to make more memories. On another note, he has told more friends about his experience and they want to go as well. I do not have the time nor the money to stage a one man movement to teach the world to fish.
As much as I would like to live my life abiding by the rules of the old proverb (see below) I cannot do this alone. I know that I was born fortunate, into an outdoor oriented family, and had many positive experiences and opportunities to form them. Others are not and will never be given this chance.
Some fish for different reasons, by different means, holding different values, but residing in the core of all of us lies the hook for a hobby that can last a lifetime.
Believe me when I say that among my age group, rare it truly is to see a fisherman. Not one who “has been fishing before” but one who fishes for life. I see it in the midst of fishing trips. All those I see are mostly grown-men, many who are aging and grew up in a time when the outdoors was synonymous with everyday life.
In today’s culture we see a trend where living inside is safer or more normal than spending time outside. This being the case, I see that fishing is a very powerful catalyst for getting someone outside and them growing a fondness for being there.
To me, fishing is much more than catching fish or competing for size or eating everything on the end of the line. If that’s why you fish, more power to you. However, I fish for memories.
Years from now I will not remember the time I spent watching T.V. or playing call of duty. There was a time I heavily did. I will remember the evening with my father when we had an elk herd run in front of the car, illuminated by just our headlights and the slowly rising sun. I will remember the smile on my friend’s face fighting a huge fish all on his own and holding it up for his victorious picture. I will remember, and appreciate, my mother driving me to and from lakes and ponds many times at the drop a hat and always asking me, “Did you have fun?” This is because I do have fun, and I want to show others the same.
The success and growth of these values relies on the “breeding” of more fishermen. If they are not born, fishing will not live. It is in my humblest opinion that we are endangered, and it is solely up to us to save our bloodlines.
Take someone fishing. Sacrifice some of your time and grow the roots for the future of our sport.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
In both body and soul.