Why do You Fish?Why do You Fish? Don't get me wrong; catching fish is great! But, to be honest, I don't fish to catch fish.
By George Hyden
People often ask why I fish. “Hey George, why do you fish? Do you fish for food? I can't catch anything in that darn creek; why do you do it? If you didn't catch anything what's the point? What's the point if just put them back in the water? I don't see anything on your walls; why do you fish? Why?” I love to catch fish, but I don't fish to catch fish – weird huh?
The fourth of July was beautiful this summer. Everybody was home and dressed in a bathing suit. It wasn't too hot, it didn't rain, and we had plans for fireworks that night. By early afternoon my son Colin and I hit the creek. The water was perfect. We were packing our rods, tackle box, two things of night crawlers, a full cooler, and two lawn chairs. We were in for the long haul. SMILE and SMILE as we set up on the eddy we decided to fish.
“Put the worm on the hook!” He was ready, and new to fishing. Our family moved the previous fall from town to a property with access to the creek. We'd been out a few times before, but the worms were still gross to Colin. I baited his hook and showed him how to put the worm on so it still wiggled.
PLOP and PLOP we were in the water! TUG, YANK, and REEL! Fish after fish … sunfish, rock bass, baby channel cats, bluegill, freshwater drum and small smallmouths. If it was in the eddy, it was on our hooks. Colin was having a ball! I'd help take the hook out and he'd pose for a picture. Now and then he'd ask me to teach him to take it off the hook.
After about eight hours of fishing, with lots of stories, a few hung up lines, a few replaced hooks, a couple walks around the sand bar, and few bigger ones we never landed, it was time to go in and clean up for the fireworks. I’m sure we smelled nice between the worms and the fish! I grabbed my stuff and started walking, “Let's go! If were late we're both in trouble. I guarantee it!”
“One more try? PLEEAASE?” You know how kids are when the fish hit all day; they don't want to leave. “PLEEEAAAASSSEEEEE? Just one more cast?”
“OK. But you better be right behind me, ONE more cast.” PLOP, he was in. I walked away, and just took my first step up the bank. Already I was planning on how to explain why we were a few minutes late. I had nothing any good, so I planned to take the heat so Colin could enjoy that last cast. My plan was to go ahead and take one for the team.
“DAD! DAD! Come back. I have one. I think it's big too!” I turned around, put my stuff down in the sand, started walking back and sure enough his rod was bent WAY over … WAY OVER! It was almost bent into a U. He reeled, giggled, reeled some more, and giggled a lot more! Seeing this made me walk faster. “I just about got it!” he shouted. By the time I arrived next to him, the fish was lying on the sand. “When I dragged it out, it flipped off the hook!” he shouted again. It was impossible for him to talk at this point. HUGE SMILE!
He was right; it was big. He hooked a nice smallmouth, real nice! We didn't weigh or measure it. Didn't need to; the look on his face was measure enough. On that last fish, he baited his own hook, hooked it, and landed it! Since I didn't pull the hook, he gets credit for that too! It was his fish from start to finish, and it was the biggest fish of the summer (until my wife's catch on September 7 – I'll tell that story later). After a quick lesson on how to hold a big fish like that, we snapped a few cell phone pictures.
We were late getting in, but it didn't matter. Both of us were willing to catch a little heat for being late. We both had huge smiles, a BIG fish story, and cell phone pictures to back it up. The fireworks were great, but not as great as the fish smell that Colin and I didn't have time to wash off before we left.
I caught a lot of fish this summer! Some real nice ones, too. The fishing was good. Don't get me wrong; catching fish is great! I never fish without my cell phone so I always have a picture of the picture worthy fish, but, to be honest, I didn't fish to catch fish this summer. Every time someone asks me why I fish, the memory of the Fourth of July is the first memory that enters my head.
George Hyden teaches at an elementary school in Central Indiana. Fishing with his wife and son is his favorite hobby.
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