A friend once told me that when his father was questioned or criticized by his non-hunting friends about his fondness for fishing and hunting, he responded that his pursuits had “much more of an ecological integrity and a biological and cultural basis than their golfing or even attendance at professional sporting events.”
Those wise words have led me to the realization that fishing is just as important as a means as it is an end. Yes, fishing is synonymous with relaxation, catching fish, having fun, and spending time with friends and family. Those are all valuable “ends” that make life better.
But fishing also is the means by which we connect with both our humanity and nature as we pursue those ends. In the outdoors, only hunting and possibly farming are comparable.
Sure, running, biking, swimming, and playing tennis are healthful pastimes, as are hiking, kayaking, and a variety of other pursuits in nature. But none of them transport us so completely into the web of life as fishing and hunting. We might no longer fish or hunt to feed our families, but these pastimes takes us closer to what life is all about than anything else I can think of --- except for maybe getting lost in the wilderness or being pursued by a grizzly bear.
And in getting closer to what life is all about, we implicitly recognize our place in it and, as a consequence, are healthier and happier in our everyday existence.
What is life all about? Go fishing and find out.
Read more in Why We Fish--- Reel Wisdom From Real Fishermen.
You also might like Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies--- Growing Up With Nature.