~ Henry David Thoreau ~
A few of us angling addicts think we know why we fish. Its the same reason that my buddy spends $35 - $50 a week for a round of golf. We enjoy it. But when I ran across this quote the other day I began to question the true reason I fish. There is no better feeling than hooking into some cutthroat or brown in a deep pool, or watching the areal take of a rising brookie or the smashing power of a bonefish taking a fly. But, is there more to it than the hook-up?
As I was passing the time the other day and sketching this brown, I pondered that question. I tried as hard as I could to convince myself that I fish for the beauty of the experience For the chance to be out in nature. To enjoy the solitude of a lonely mountain stream or placid country pond. I told myself it was the beauty of the journey that kept me coming back. Maybe it truly didn't matter if I ever caught another fish. Old Henry D. had opened a door. It was a new way to look at why I fished. It wasn't the fish, it was everything else.
Then as I finished touching up the sketch, I put down my pencil and thought to myself, 'maybe Henry never had a morning full of hatches and leaping fish. Maybe he never held a brightly colored brookie in his hand. Maybe he never felt the tug of a monster taking a woolly from the deep, and maybe Mr. Thoreau never spent a ten hours on a bone chilling river with leaky waders and not a single bite to show for it.' If he had he would know that it sucks.
It IS the fish we are after otherwise we would just be another guy on a nature hike. Now don't go unhinged. I love backpacking as much as any guy on the AT or PCT but when I go fishing, I go to catch fish. We can enjoy all that goes with catching the fish but in the end without actually hooking into fish... Whats the point. If you disagree, I know a place you can donate all your fishing gear. In return I'll give you trail map and a bag of granola.