One of my first assignments as a young sports writer was to interview an 85-year-old man who bicycled daily.
I don’t remember much about that interview except what he told me at the end. “People don’t use their legs enough,” he said. “One of these days, they won’t even have them anymore.”
Now, the obesity epidemic that has occurred in recent years does give me pause, but I’m still not ready to buy into the idea that our legs will devolve into worthless stumps.
Rather, I remember what he said because it’s provocative. Over the years, it often has inspired me to look at many aspects of modern life with a new perspective and to wonder what lies ahead.
That brings me to consideration of what lies ahead for recreational fishing.
What began as means of gathering food to survive thousands of years ago has evolved into a pastime enjoyed today by an estimated 60 million people in this country and probably more than 100 million worldwide.
Yes, some of us still fish for food. But many of us also have recognized countless other reasons that keep us returning to the water with rods in our hands. We fish to spend time with family and friends. We fish to relax. We fish to compete. We fish to enjoy nature. We fish to remember. We fish to forget. We fish because --- along with our families, our religions, and our jobs --- it completes us.
But will it always? Or will something replace it?
(Excerpt from the final essay in my new book, Why We Fish.)