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Fishing just for the sake of fishing

Bob Jensen

It’s a new year and a new fishing season. Let’s think a bit about fishing and why we like to go fishing, through the ice or on open water. Fishing is different things to different people. Some folks go fishing to catch a meal of fish; others rarely keep their catch. They just enjoy getting a fish to eat their bait, fighting the fish, then releasing it to do it again some time. Both are good reasons to go fishing.

Some people like to watch wildlife while they fish. Depending on where they fish, they might see waterfowl, a deer, an eagle or a family of otters. Lots of different forms of wildlife live near water. That’s an added benefit of fishing. You certainly don’t need to go fishing to watch wildlife, but it’s sure a bonus.

Some anglers like to make fishing a competitive thing. They want to catch more fish than their boat partner, or they want to catch more fish than the other anglers in a tournament. That’s good, but maybe there’s enough competition in the world and some don’t need or want to push that aspect of fishing too hard. Don’t discourage others from fishing the way they want to, but also keep in mind that it’s really pleasant to get on and off the water when you want to, and it’s OK to chase whatever species is biting best on that particular day.

Some people go fishing to spend time in a nice setting. There aren’t many places nicer than in a boat on a shallow bay or along the bank of a pond catching bass or bluegills with a dad, child, mom, grandparent or friend. Fishing is a good thing to do if you’re enjoying it. If you’re not enjoying it, maybe consider fishing a different way that does bring you enjoyment.

So much of the time we hear about groups that are focused on taking kids fishing. That’s wonderful. Taking a kid fishing is outstanding and could change a young person’s life for the better. There are a lot of non-fishing adults in the world who maybe should have been taken fishing when they were youngsters.

However, let’s not forget about the adults who would like to go fishing but don’t know how to get started or don’t get the chance to go. Instead of focusing on a particular age group, let’s think about people in general. If someone wants to go fishing and you’re going, invite them along. You’ll be doing them a favor, and maybe you’ll be doing yourself a favor. Most folks who want to go fishing are nice people who you’ll enjoy spending time with. Some cherished, life-long friendships have started in a boat or along the bank of a river.

Youngsters new to fishing will enjoy a couple of hours catching bluegills or bullheads from a pond. Make sure they catch something, take some snacks along and make sure to go home before they want to. You don’t want to hear them say, “Can we go home now?” Leave the water with them wanting more.

Most adults can be a little more patient and don’t need to see the bobber going down all the time, but if it’s an adult that’s new to fishing, they want to catch something. You don’t appreciate fishing completely until something is pulling on the end of your line. Make sure that you go at a time and to a place where the chances for getting bit are good. Just like with the kids, call it a day while you’re still enjoying the experience.

The people who make fishing lures, rods, reels and boats like new anglers because new anglers buy fishing stuff. But almost all of them understand the truly best reason to introduce someone to fishing is to enhance that person’s life. They also understand that that’s the best reason to do anything.

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