I don't think there are very many fishermen that have ever gone fishing without thinking, at least for a few brief moments, about how fortunate they are to be able to fish. Fishing is a lot of things - a lot of good things.
Fishermen enjoy catching fish, but most, I think, regard the answer to the inevitable question "How'd you do?" to be a very incomplete measure of the real reason for fishing. I've had days with no fish, a few fish and a lot of fish, but I've never had a bad day fishing. Of course I like hooking into fish as much as anyone else, but every fishing outing is a good experience regardless of success.
You can fish from shore, a bridge or in a boat. You can fish with the most basic tackle possible or the most expensive equipment you can buy. You can fish close to home or in distant waters. Those things are what help make fishing perhaps the most universally appealing outdoor activity available today.
Fishing places the participant in a situation where the mind quickly forgets about all other matters normally associated with much of our daily life. That's one of the great rewards of fishing, the perfect relief from other matters that consume the majority of our thoughts each and every day. Fishing is much more about peace of mind than it is about putting tasty fillets on the table. Often though, the two merge to create what some would regard as a perfect day.
There are days when limits are hooked, but that doesn't necessarily put an end to a fishing outing. A fishermen doesn't have to leave the water just because a limit has been caught. True, an angler can't keep more fish than the limit allows, but he or she has the option of catch-and-release fishing of most species provided the fish are not injured and are released in good condition. The ability to catch-and-release at any time is one thing that separates fishing from all other licensed outdoor endeavors.
The benefits of fishing are different things to different anglers, but certainly includes developing skills, building friendships and enhancing appreciation of the outdoors. Those benefits are part of what makes fishing the wonderful activity so dear to many.