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COMMENTS BY KIM: Why we fish

Do you ever ask yourself why you fish? I mean, really ask yourself and come up with an answer with which you are comfortably satisfied.

Those of us who fish, and there are many, know we like to go but may not fully understand why. I suppose every fisherman can come up with different reasons, but maybe not be able to fully explain why fishing is so darned important to them.

I’ve thought about this a lot and can never quit explain it all. I assume countless others have done the same, never quite satisfied they’ve answered the why do you fish question correctly or as completely as they would like. I’m not at all certain it is even possible.

Some fish to catch fish, as many as they can, at least in the early stage of their fishing career. Some fishermen are serious, others much more laid back. I think fishing is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. The experiences on the water, no matter what the actual number of fish caught, is always more memorable than taking a limit of fish to the cleaning table.

A few nights ago, while on the water, I was thinking about the very reason why I enjoy fishing so much. The answer was all around me.

My dog was sitting and looking over the bow of the boat at a nearby pelican waiting for some discarded bait, which I haven’t used for many years. A very light rain was dimpling the perfectly smooth surface of the lake. No rain gear was necessary. The cloud cover and cooling effect was welcome following a very hot afternoon.

A rainbow was forming in the west and the golden sun was setting beneath fading cloud cover in the east. The rainbow began as single arc protruding from ground level in the southeast, then became a forked rainbow resembling a colorful tree split with two trunks.

As sunset approached the color of the rainbow became more and more brilliant and the arc fully defined. Then the odd fork morphed into the beginning of a double rainbow. The entire scene was stunning beyond description.

I felt a lump in my throat. I could feel my lips pressing tightly together and my eyes watering. I noticed others in the boat were doing more watching than casting fishing lures too. It was a lengthy moment shared with others and it felt good. That, I thought, is another reason I fish. Other fisherman, I’m certain, would say the same.

On the same night a fishing companion caught he first ever muskie, a real brute too. It resulted in plenty of broad smiles, especially when the fish was successfully released. Another reason, I thought, why we fish.

A few nights later I had a fishing companion land the largest smallmouth of his life, and he has fished extensively for many years. He lost a much bigger fish too as it came unhooked near the boat. No matter. No cause for disappointment. There would be another, at some time, and he already had put a personal best on the measuring board. Quite an evening. Great memories. Another reason I, we, fish.

We boated to the dock on calm water as the last glow of the setting sun sunk into the horizon. Five pelicans in flight gracefully, silently, skimmed the water. A fish made a big swirl. Then another. As the boat bumped softly against the side of the dock we both took a moment to look around us and let the scene etch into our memories.

I can’t always provide a complete or correct or satisfying answer when someone asks me why I fish, but images come into my mind that answer the question for me. That is why I fish.

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