Why I Fish
Each turn of the handle brings my worm an inch closer to the bank.
I feel a bump on my line; I can feel the fish swallowing my worm. I take a step back and rip the rod straight up far up over my head. The rod tip bends over and my reel screams. I pull the rod close to my chest and reel in as fast as I can. The fish jumps and I catch a glimpse at the largemouth as she tries to shake the hook from her mouth. After she jumps, the fight ends. Largemouth aren’t known for fighting very hard. Besides, I have a 7-foot rod with 20-pound line, the fish isn’t going anywhere. As I pull it closer to the rock I’m standing on, I reach down and grab its bottom lip. I pull the beast out of the water and finally get to see my prize. A pre-spawn female with a fat belly and bucket mouth. While I reach for the scale in my bag, I drop the fish in the water and she swims off to fight another day. I never got to weigh her, but I’m sure I’ll tell my friends it was a monster.
Anyone who has fished for any species of fish has plenty of stories like this. In my opinion, a day on the water without any fish is better than any day at work or school. What else in this world can you fail at and still have a great day? Find me a quarterback who’s happy without throwing any completions, or a student who has a smile after failing their test. You can’t.
I love to fish with friends, but I enjoy it most by myself or with my dogs. Just me and my thoughts on the water. Fishing is a pretty passive sport -- with the exception of the constant casting or an exceptionally large fish, it doesn’t require much energy. I know my home lakes pretty well, so I don’t have to put much thought into my lure choice. I have a handful that I cycle through for each lake. While I’m out on the water, my mind is allowed to wander. I solve my problems best out on the water without anything interrupting my thoughts.
When I have the dogs with me, they run in the water and chase after my lure or the curious sunfish that swims too close. On more than one occasion one of them has gotten tangled up in the line and pulled a fish right out of the water. One time while fishing off the beach, my dog Champ ran off and discovered a new spot for me. I caught a handful of keepers that day. Another time, while fishing off a dock, my late dog, Baxter, got to close the edge and fell in. The old pup couldn’t swim and I had to jump in after him. It’s because of moments like these that I love to fish.
I recently got into fly fishing. I got a cheap fly rod combo for my birthday just to see if I enjoy it. After one day on the river, I was dumping my paychecks into vests, waders and other accessories. I have yet to catch a trout on the fly rod, but I love it anyway. My dad told me if I was going to catch anything, I had to be out at sunrise. Every night I set my alarm for 4:30, and every morning I hit the snooze button. When I finally got out bright and early, my love for the sport deepened even further. It was a cool morning with the fog rolling over the water. The birds were still asleep when the crunching of the leaves broke the silence. A family of deer broke out of the woods and walked across the stream not even ten feet in front of me. They noticed me but didn’t startle. It was at that moment that I felt like a part of nature and how much I truly loved to fish.