Photos by: Justin Dobson
In everyday life, you are separated by class or number. Whether it’s your college degree; P.E., M.D., I.T.your title at work;lead, senior, global, manager your financial status; upper class, middle class, no class or even your age. The same applies in the realm of fishing. To find the reason you fish and try to classify yourself by definition can lead you to quite a quandary.
I've been it all.
“He’s a fly fisherman” implies some elitist stature. In reality, I love fishing in general. I’d be just at home dunking a chicken liver for a big catfish as I would wading a clear stream casting dries for trout. Whether it’s fishing by fly or bait, it doesn't change my passion for the activity. It just so happens I find thrill in the challenge and process of fly fishing.
“He’s a fisherman” puts me in the same class as Gordon, dressed in yellow coveralls and adorning the box of fish sticks in the freezer section of the grocery store. Do I fit in somewhere between this and the above title?
“He’s a sportsman” sounds rather regal. This title makes me just as comfortable riding my steed on the next foxhunt as it would be with my wicker creel and tweed jacket. Although I enjoy a bird hunt from time to time, I just can’t see lumping fishing in with hunting. It’s two completely separate experiences and this title implies you are…well… “bi-sportual”
“He loves to fish” may give the impression I sit on a bucket for hours watching a bobber. I’m not saying I’m better than that, I’m just beyond it. One may say “I’m on that next level”.
Fishing provides me with so much that I can't be fenced in by the usual titles. It’s a time to soak in the silence in my own form of meditation. It gives me time to consider my actions and give thought to plans and ideas. It may be best defined as recreation: a refreshment of strength and spirits after work, a means of diversionor maybe described as a hobby: a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation. But it goes deeper than that.
During my day of fishing I’m thankful for so many things beyond what most expect to achieve or receive from a recreation or hobby. For the weather (good or bad), for friends who share my same passion, for the complicated life-cycles of nature which keeps my canvas and the paints for fishing constantly changing with the seasons, for inspiration to put real paints to canvas when I’m not on the water, for the wins when you get a fish to your net that seems like it was crafted just for you, for the losses that keep your spirit seeking more, and at the end of the day for a place to stay, for a family or pet to come home to.
It’s like a Band-Aid with Neosporin for my soul. It keeps me patient, level, sane and sober. There are so many reasons I love to fish. It’s hard to break it down. I think it would be best explained for most to experience it for themselves. It’s hard for me to believe the rivers aren't a much busier place.