The strange and beautiful thing about fishing, is that it is so complex in its nature, it’s beloved for a host of different reasons. When a man is “fishing,” he is in reality doing a great many things and perhaps for a number of different reasons, some even unknown to him.
Fishermen at the dawn of humanity were only seeking sustenance. A hook and a line was a means of avoiding starvation and although we’ve evolved from cave drawings to blogs that can reach all corners of the earth, that motivation remains. For a great many anglers, the simple act of providing their own meals, with their own two hands, is the most rewarding aspect of the whole business.
Still others seek some sense of self-satisfaction, or bragging rights. Certainly fishing is an arena in which, with time and effort, we can excel, and who would keep such feats secret?
Most anglers would admit that the sheer beauty of the surroundings we so often find ourselves in while fishing play at least a small part in their love for the sport, although that varies depending on the fisherman and his chosen water.
For me, and I can’t help but wonder if this feeling motivates others, fishing is about separation. On a boat 15 miles off the coast, or in the surf being hit by waves while heaving bucktails, we are in a very real sense removed. We are removed from daily tasks, obligation and anxiety. How possibly worried can you be about a landlocked problem when the coast is only a shadow off the bow?
While this motivation hasn’t been there my whole life (certainly I was more about bragging and accomplishment than anything before adulthood set in) it’s one I find myself coming back to more often now as an adult.
With the Atlantic crashing against your ankles in the surf, or the deep hum of the outboard pulling you afraid from land, it’s almost impossible to dwell on those dry, pesky problems that find us at desks, in our cars or even in bed.
Fishing for me, for the last ten years at least, has been a blissful escape from any and all anxiety that you find yourself facing without a rod in your hand.
And certainly cancer is far from the only thing that can kill us. Worry, doubt and fear are as dangerous as anything you’ll see on an X-ray. And in that way, maybe fishing, in many respects, is the cure.