"The hours spent fishing are|
not subtracted from your life."
What an ecologic miracle salmon have brought to the Great Lakes--as Michael had shown off here in a Lake Michigan Coho. We have pursued the finned friends from bass (here seen as a "keeper" from Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids, Michigan). Northern Pike were caught while backpacking across Lake Superior's Isle Royale, casting toward bull moose feeding on reeds in the shallows. And the Brook Trout seen here came from a tundra river in Northern Quebec territory.
Whether the fishing is done with a cane pole as I had originally done when starting, or raised to an art form in barbless dry fly casting, it is soul-satisfying to the hunter- gatherer, and sometimes even successful in catching something! Freshwater fishing has been the most usual pursuit, sometimes for catch and release, sometimes to stock the freezer, but most often as centerpieces around which to gather the gang as "a river runs through it."
Do not neglect the marine fishing in which there is variety, number and size as well as method in surf or boat fishing. "Rock" (that is Chesapeake talk for "striped bass") are back in the Bay, as you see from the most recent outing, although they have not chased all the bluefish out, which remain reliable. The beautiful bull dolphin (caught off Maryland's Ocean City Atlantic con- tinental shelf) came in with tuna on an outing following a wild ride in the wake of a hurricane. I have gone after bill fish-- the big game of offshore fishing--from Maryland to Sodwana Bay in the Mozambican Channel off KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. It is the same thrill as the bluegill on the canepole!
But I have now been refined to the still higher art form--or is it the Zen of fishing--of an official diplomate of the Orvis School of Fly Fishing, completing my course on the Battenkill River and Equinox Pond in Manchester Vermont, world headquarters of Orvis and its toney brand of the fly fishing arts. "The art of fly fishing is simple, but not easy" said my chief instructor Bill Cairns "since none of the learned skills are intuitive." So, I practice.
I also read, and perhaps even more often, daydream about carrying out the perfect presentation to the persnickety wild trout--whether in the beautiful rushing stream settings of New England, New Zealand, The Rockies or the Drakensberg. One of the favorite lines read, as opposed to those cast, comes from Howell Raines "Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis". He accredits another guru named Blalock with a central teaching: "To achieve mastery is to rise above the need to catch fish." As can be clearly seen from the experience and philosophy of this dedicated hunter/gatherer the present author--I have achieved mastery in these arts!