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A Fish Tale

There’s an old saying that goes something like…  Give a man a fish, and he has a nice meal or a pet.  Show a man how to fish, and he has a hobby or a lifetime obsession.  Mostly he doesn’t go hungry again if the fish are biting.  The line and lures are used to get into his bloodstream thru his fingers.  Before he knows it, he’s spending all his money on new and better fishing equipment.

Why do people like to fish?  There are probably as many reasons as there are people fishing.  For one, it’s the pleasurable solitude and getting back to nature.  A chance to relax as a form of mental therapy.  To let all the worries of the day disappear.  For another, it’s a chance to form special bonds with friends and family.  Adventures on the waterways creating memories of their shared experiences of the day.  Possibly of pushing someone into the water?

It’s the thrill of not knowing what you’re going to catch—the idea you can catch fish with dozens of methods and kinds of bait. You are learning about different fish species and what they eat. 

For others, it’s a chance to mentor and pass on the passion for fishing and nature.  The feeding behavior of a fish species so you can catch more fish.  The environmental challenges of a particular waterway.  An opportunity to teach about fish species and the ecosystem, all that you learned to others. 

Everything out on the water is a new experience.  The beautiful and stunning scenery of various locations.  The journey begins with the thrill of that first catch.

As a kid, my first memory of fishing was with my Uncle Ray and my younger brother.  We went somewhere nearby and used simple cane pole fishing rods with a bobber and a hook.  Wadded bread was our bait.  We caught some little 2 and 3 inch fish, maybe sunnies and brims?  As I got older, it was a pond on my Uncle Tony’s property, with my cousins and other relatives’ children.  Real fishing poles with reels, red boppers, and worms for bait an adult put on the hook. Again, we caught little fish, brim, and sunnies, which we threw back.

My only deep-sea fishing experience came in high school on a school camping trip to Florida.  As part of the journey, a hired boat took us on an ocean fishing expedition.  We had big heavy rods and reels.  A quarter of the class got seasick, and the fishing improved.  The crew cleaned the fish, and the kitchen crew cooked them up for supper the next day.

I got a college degree in Florida.  I married an actual fisherman with an extensive array of fresh water and ocean poles.  We fished in the local waterways, the everglades, and the beach of the Atlantic Ocean.  We usually ate what we caught.  A few times, we came home with mudfish so inedible even the cats and the dog wouldn’t touch them.