I got to thinking the other day, not always
a good thing at my age, but from habit I do
it anyway. This time I went off the deep end
about what is fishing all about anyhow. I mean,
why has man been doing it for so long. Why did
he start in the first place, why does he still
do it, and more specifically, why do we do it
these days and with a fly rod.
I mean, a net in the shallows seemed to work for
a few centuries, still does in many places for
that matter. Many methods work to get the fish,
and mostly they are all for the table, or on a
stick if that happens to be the fish du jour.
Seems to me that most fish, then and now are
captured to be eaten. Fish eat fish, we eat fish.
That seems like what fishing is all about. We fish
to get fish.
Now enters man. Man with a long stick and some
goofy notion that they are to play with. This
idea still meets with astonishment in several
countries today. To catch a fish and throw it
back is insanity, really. But, here we are with
our high-faluting ideas and noble ethics, catching
fish, patting their slippery little heads and
bidding them a fond fare well. We have convinced
ourselves that against all of the conventional
wisdom of the ages, it is not nice to hurt a fish,
not nice to kill one and immoral to even think of
eating one. Well, not all of us have, but a darn
big bunch of us have. The idea has even spread to
other countries. Places where one would presume
that the more pragmatic and 'meat and potatoes'
society would be brighter than to be led down
such a romantic stream.
But, nonetheless, it has been done and we have
done it to ourselves. So we fish with delicate
little flies so as not to hurt the poor little
fishies. Remember, it was not always like that.
Do you think the boys in the early frontier days
in the great North East of our country were
vegetarians? Think again. They caught fish. They
ate fish. And you know what? Their flies were
designed to catch fish. Fish to eat. So what happened?
It got too easy. The dumb denizens jumped on flies
faster than we could cook them. After all a fellow
can only eat so many, then they get a bit boring.
Ask some of the other cultures who still mostly
live on them. We also discovered it was kind of
fun catching them with these little flies. Our
culture degenerated and we became fly fishers
of the round (tying) table, in the evenings
(at night). As it were, 'Latter Day Knights of
the Round Tables.' Fly fishing clubs popped up.
Fly tying groups formed and fanned out into
organizations on both sides of the pond. We have
slid our way to the boggy bottom of the proverbial
slippery slope. It ain't nice to hurt fish.
We took a great phrase and twisted it. Here is
"A fish is too important to only be caught once.
It must be annoyed for the rest of his miserable
"Bull-pucky," says I! We must take back our heritage!
Well, okay let's not get carried away here, but at
least perhaps we should occasionally think about
what the real issues here were and maybe should
still be. As an example consider this scenario.
It's a private pond, dug by the owner, stocked
with eggs he bought and raised, he charges you
to fish and you must kill and keep every fish
you catch. You must also take them home and eat
them. It is ten bucks a fish and he furnishes
the gear. How many are you going to catch? Ok,
I agree with that.
Let's say you can use your gear and you can
release everything, but if you hurt one, you
must keep it and pay for it and eat it. Alright,
I will accept that too. What if you can fish all
day and release everything, and if it dies, it
dies. No problem, the pond needs the nutrition
and it really is good for his ecosystem. Now what?
In fact, a few dead ones are almost welcomed, too
many of them in there anyhow. Things start to change
here don't they. Am I trying to set you up? Would I,
J Castwell do that to you? Of course I would. Will.
What if, the next time you are out, lake, stream,
salt-chuck, I don't care, what if you for some
reason had to land every one of the fish you hooked?
No LDR, you had to land them, bring them in and kill
each and every one of them. There is a person standing
right there observing you, you may not even begin to
try to lose the fish. Fun? Think it would be fun?
Right, I don't think so either.
And finally this. When, the next time you are alone,
fly fishing and get one on, you tell yourself that
you must land the fish. You will not be satisfied
with just playing with it, none of the, "Heck, I
was going to release it anyway!" Nope, you make a
deal with yourself that you must land it no matter
What would you change? ~ JC