“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”Henry David Thoreau
Having fished since I was 3 years old, I think I get this.
My Mother’s side of the family were hunters and freshwater fisherman. On my Father’s side, I have sailors and saltwater fishermen. I learned about freshwater fishing at an early age from my Uncle.
I remember the morning mist covering portions of the lake as my Uncle pulled the oars, sliding our rowboat along the shoreline.
He was very patient as I learned to cast lures towards the lily pads edging the shoreline. It turns out there is a knack to preventing “back-lash.” This condition occurs when you do not put enough thumb pressure on the spool as you cast out the line. Push too hard and the lure comes to rest next to the boat. When you put too little pressure on it, the line tangles unmercifully, requiring many minutes of effort to untangle the mess.
Cast with the right amount of pressure and the lure flies exactly where you want it to go.
Reels have grown up since I began fishing. Everything we used when I was a kid was a bait caster. Now, there are spinning reels, closed faced spinning reels, and much more sophisticated bait casters. I’m not sure they are even still called bait casters.
Learning why I love to go fishing took years.
Understanding my relationship with hunting was a quicker process. The odds of actually seeing a game animal was, for me, an evolutionary process. For many years, I would go deer hunting, and never see a deer. I was quick to point out to others that I loved being in the woods.
Bagging wild game at anytime was a bonus.
Of course what I really meant was that early on in my hunting career, I was terrible at finding signs of game, let alone actually shooting it. Most of my early success was a surprise, both to the animal and to me.
I am a decent tracker now, but in the past ten years or so, I have watched the wild game through my rifle scope and never pulled the trigger.
The thrill of the chase, so to speak, is satisfying. Plus, dragging a 100+ pound carcass a mile out of the forest isn’t as appealing as it was 30 years ago. And I did that more than once.
Fishing is still an enjoyable past time for me.
I have been a catch and release fisherman for years. Getting out in the boat, or onto the beach, or the edge of a lake, I feel the tranquil energy of Mother Nature. I am always energized, thankful, and optimistic about the future when I return home.
I have solved many a problem when I fish.
My mind is on the fish, not the problem. Where are they, what would they use for cover? What lure would attract them? Where do I need to cast? How fast should I reel in the lure? Should I be using live bait and a bobber? There is so much to think about while fishing, there is no room to contemplate life’s problems.
For me, fishing is a marvelous therapist.
In the past year, I have been using my fishing therapy to work through my new relationship with depression. Sometimes I need to get my mind on a single task, like planting the garden. This allows my mind free time to work out the bigger issues without me getting in its way.
I am a better person to myself and others when I fish.
My Concealed Depression is written under the alias “Depression is not my boss.” I have certifications in SMART Recovery and am a Global Career Development Facilitator.
Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder last year, I am sharing what I learn. If you know someone who might benefit from reading this, please share.
I always appreciate your comments.