Would you say that you love to fish, or have a love of fishing? The differences between these two perspectives hold huge implications, and while one is rewarding long after you’re gone, the other is temporal and relegated to the photos of Facebook walls and Instagram feeds.
For many men and women, fishing is a way to relax and recharge, travel to new places, spend quality time with a friend, or bring home a dinner that just can’t be bought at the grocery store. Whether you’re catching catfish with a few poles and bobbers, throwing a fly upstream at the school of salmon, pulling a walleye through the ice, straining your arms to bring that blue marlin into the boat, or mastering the art of Japanese tenkara fishing; you’re enjoying an activity that has built friendships, created adventures, put food on the table, and oh, used as a business model by the most influential person in history, Jesus.
Typically, a person that loves to fish has their favorite honey hole and spends the equivalent of a small country’s national debt on lures, rods, reels, and perhaps a boat with the latest fishing gadgets. These are all good but, there is far more to fishing than your secret pond and cool gear. What’s missing, you ask? I’ll get to it but first, I want you to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I get a sense of satisfaction when someone else catches a big fish?
- Am I willing to set my rod down to help someone else avoid creating a birds nest?
- How do I feel about sharing my favorite fishing spots and bait choices?
- When someone beats my personal best fish, do I wish that they drop dead?
Yes, it’s obvious to see where I’m going and we all know what the right answers are. But the truth is, we’ve all been jealous or stingy at some point, and yes, we’ve all wished for someone to croak. You might be thinking to yourself, “self… I taught my kid how to fish; it’s all good.” Well duh! We’ve all been taught how to fish by someone else. When I was six, my grandfather taught me how to fish and when I turned ten, taught me how to fly fish. Now I have the pleasure of passing these invaluable skills onto my son, Nick. *Side note, teaching kids how to fish is a whole other blog post, and when I figure it out, I’ll write about it! lol
The difference between “loving to fish” and having a “love for fishing,” is clearly defined by our generosity in sharing our experiences, our time, and yes, even gear. Have you ever thought about sharing your knowledge in the local community? Nick and I volunteer from time to time to assist with Fly Fishing 101 classes at our local Orvis store. Yes, we actually trade a cool Saturday morning of catching fish, for a hot concrete parking lot where we help others learn the basics of fly casting. But we love it, and the reason is simple. We get to watch people light up when their inner lightbulb goes off, and they realize, they can do it!
This past fall and early winter; the striped bass were not performing as we expected, at least compared to last year. Not only has this been humbling, but it’s also stressful when people ask for advice about fly fishing for striped bass in north Texas, and I don’t have the advice to give them. See, I’m not stressed over the fact that I haven’t caught fish, but rather that others, including Nick, aren’t experiencing muscle failure from catching three 10+ pounders back-to-back on a 5 weight fly rod, or, that our fishing guests are catching dink sand bass when they should be catching Texas redneck tarpon (aka striped bass).
Even in the midst of a disappointing season, the stress melts away quickly, because we’re still fishing. I take great joy in spending time with Nick and our buddies, and sharing my favorite techniques and spots with aspiring fly fishermen (and women). Like many others, my fulfillment is not gained through fishing, but through sharing my love of fishing!