“The two best times to fish is when it’s rainin’ and when it ain’t.” — Patrick F. McManus
Just to be blunt about boys and girls, there are a whole bunch of you out there that need to go fishing. How long has it been for you? If you have to think about that for a minute, it’s been too long.
I actually read about a study the other day, done at one of our universities where, you know, all the professors are smarter than the average bear. The people that spent who knows how much money on this endeavor finally determined that if you go fishing it will relieve stress.
No kidding. They found this to be true.
Did you fish a lot as a kid? I bet you did. Did you enjoy it? Dumb question. So what is keeping you from trying to regain some of that wonderment and zeal you had for one of the greatest of outdoor endeavors? Remember when it wasn’t so complicated to go fishing?
My brothers and sisters in camo, it could be that way again.
I say that I like to watch all the different programs on the various outdoor-related TV channels. Once I get settled in and start to channel surf on the outdoor shows, though, something strange starts to happen. I start to come down with an unusual bunch of symptoms, sort of like indigestion, dizziness and a sprinkling of depression.
All this is brought on by what some of these shows have done to simple outdoor pursuits.
The fishing shows may be the worst. How about the one with all these guys fishing and competing against one another — but this one has referees! (Complete with black-and-white shirts.) Referees, for crying out loud!
So you may very well see a scene like this:
Announcer: “Let’s go over to boat No. 3 and check on Scott and Biff. We’ll see what their referee has to say. How they doing, ref?”
Referee: “Not good. As you know, Scott and Biff lost time this morning when they overslept and were late getting on the lake! Now they are trying to make it up by speedcasting some of these rocky points, but they just can’t seem to get connected with a money fish. Two bluegills and a perch is all they have landed, neither of which count for points. Oh! Now it looks like Scott has snagged Biff in the ear with the treble hooks on a crank bait! This is going to cost them more valuable time.”
Announcer: “Do these guys have a chance to make the cut this evening to stay in the running for the money?”
Referee: “Only if they get divine intervention.”
And so it goes. When did everything get to be such a competition? How did we make something as simple and pure as fishing into a 100-mph race to catch fish?
Again, it does not have to be that way. I have a plan for you, and like most tasks, about 95 percent of it is just showing up, and in this case showing up on the stream or the lake.
First step, just go dig out some of that fishing gear you have. Don’t worry if you don’t have the latest and greatest lure that you saw on TV or in Field and Stream. It probably doesn’t work anyway. Just take what you have. Make it a real challenge and don’t go buy anything!
(OK, you can make one quick trip to “Wally World” if you must.)
The rest of the plan is basically just getting out there. Some of you are thinking of transitioning from trout to bass or whatever right now. But you know what? The trout are still there. That big brown one that you saw in early April or last fall, he’s still there. Go visit him.
You know the bass are there, some of those big bluegills are on the nest and the catfish are there and they are hungry. Go offer them a morsel.
Think of how you felt when you went fishing as a kid. Can you remember that? Can you allow yourself to regain that?
It’s worth everything if you can.
“The Trail Less Traveled” is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va., has been a devoted outdoorsman all of his life and is a contributing columnist for The Daily Citizen. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.