Fishing as a sport has often been described as an activity that consists of long periods of boredom followed by short and intense periods of excitement. While this statement is not entirely untrue, it misses the point of the exercise entirely and fails to recognize the paramount importance of the events that happen outside those moments of intense activity, which is for many is a big part of why they enjoy fishing. The down time between catching fish allows us those neccesary moments of respite from the world and to reconnect with ourselves. It is a time for solitary reflection and introspection, observation and thought about nature and existence, or a time to talk to a close friend. The truth is if we only fished to catch fish that the whole endeavor could be viewed as an exceedingly productive way to waste ones time. The scientific method can back me up on this. Should one be so inclined to analyze the mathematical calculations of catch rates vs. effort or hours fished they would quickly arrive at the conclusion that ninety percent of their time was spent staring at inert lines and not much else. In the real world where their is an expectation of a return on an investment, people would get fired for such a lack of productivity. But this is where logic and mathematics fall to the wayside and where statistics hold no currency.The algorithms and calculations are deficient in the recognition of the existential moments that occur during these long periods of inactivity, the sonnet within the silence, the crack of light that emerges through the shadows, bringing with it both hope and meaning. They don’t account for the satisfaction of casting a perfect loop of line that unfurls like poetry over a page of unwritten water, still brimming with hope and promise. Or the mysterious way a sunset moves us all to silence and wonder about the magic that is our world. Nor do they recognize the memories that are built and the friendships that are forged during these long periods of inactivity. They cannot explain the prose that is all flowing water, or the breath-taking sight of an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Nor do they explain a myriad of other individual reasons that keep all of us drawn back to waters of a sorts. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter if we don’t catch fish.
Fishing is one of those enigmatic activities in that most thoughtful people who have been at it for long enough will admit you that catching fish is not always paramount to the activity of fishing. A recent study in Alberta confirms this by noting inadvertently during a study on catch rates that anglers were not necessarily attracted to high catch rate fisheries, thus suggesting that angler behavior is very complex and not motivated by catch rates alone. This perspicacious finding was a by-catch of a creel analysis study on catch rates and as such the reasons behind this complex angler behavior were not included in the study parameters, only briefly commented upon by the research team. As their research on the subject deepens, they will no doubt discover that there are far more subtle factors at work determining what makes up a good day of fishing that can’t be accounted for by statistics nor catch rates. www.thefishinglife.com