Top ten reasons you seldom find me fishing anymore-
10) No matter how many times I’ve done it, the task of baiting the hook never gets any more pleasant for me. Sometimes it’s the critter that is being used for bait that I find distasteful, such as worms. Now, I’m the first to admit that earthworms are our friends. I recognize the valuable services that they provide in bringing good things to life. But I will never get used to the sensation of impaling the helpless creatures with the barb of my hook, while I hold their wriggly, slimy bodies in the proper position so as not to pierce my finger as well. Sometimes it’s the cruelty of the concept that I find distasteful to my sensibilities. As in deep-sea fishing, where a hook is carefully inserted into the live bait-fish body, via the gills, in order to allow the live bait-fish the opportunity to swim around, tethered like a puppy, enticing the legions of game fish the angler is targeting.
9) Removing the hook from a successful catch is another unpleasantness that I prefer to avoid. Holding on to a thrashing, scaly fish, perhaps armed with sharp barbels or spines, and undoubtedly with razor-sharp teeth, while trying to dislodge a barbed hook from the gullet of the mullet is not my idea of fun anymore.
8) Still, the task of baiting the hook never gets any more pleasant for me.
7) The equipment just keeps getting more and more elaborate and expensive. Trying to keep up with the latest fishing techniques is challenging enough, but look at the new tackle and bait that I just bought. I was assured that this was the latest, greatest setup for catching “tropical” fish. Hooks this size don’t come cheap!
6) Still, the task of baiting the hook never gets any more pleasant for me.
5) There are already enough fishermen in the world, without my adding one more person to the fray. Not only are there plenty of fishermen in existence, but they are incredibly efficient in bringing in the catch, all too often to the point that serial depletion of species is the norm for the fishing industry. When Retta and I lived on a trawler cruising the Channel Islands, it was very disheartening to frequently witness the following carnage that takes place in our oceans on a regular basis.
4) Still unchanged, the task of baiting the hook never gets any more pleasant for me.
3) Catch and release, the politically correct fishing method de jour, strikes me as a cruel sport. I’ve been told by fishermen, sometimes repeatedly, that the act of setting a hook deep into the mouth of a fish does not cause a fish to feel pain. Nor does the act of removing the hook from the innards of the fish cause distress in the fish. Having never been a fish, I can offer no first-hand knowledge of the pain/distress capabilities of fish, but if they don’t experience distress from these acts, I certainly do!
2) Catching fish for personal consumption offers up the daunting task of cleaning the fish. Some people have no problem eviscerating and cleaning a fish. I suppose I might be more “squeamish” than most, but I confess to finding the entire fish cleaning process disgusting. Which is why I am willing to pay others (seafood restaurants and fish markets, for example) to do this bit of dirty work for me.
1) The number one reason you won’t find me hanging around the tackle box much anymore is more psychological than anything else. When I was a young lad of 11 1/2 years (1/2 years were VERY important to my as an eleven year old), Dad took my on a deep-sea fishing trip while we were on summer vacation in Mazatlan, Mexico. Many miles offshore, while I was taking a turn strapped into the fighting chair at the stern of the chartered sport fishing boat, the live-bait on my line was struck by a sailfish. Immediately, a crew member ran over to help me set the hook. After about 15 exhausting minutes of fighting this sailfish (with the help of the experienced crew), I turned the rig over to my Dad, who spent the next half-hour or so strapped into the chair as he reeled in the giant fish. As a naive 11 1/2-year old, I was horrified when the fish was brought alongside the boat, where a crewman proceeded to bash the sailfish’s head repeatedly with a baseball bat, until the fish succumbed to the brutal treatment. But, despite witnessing this treatment of the sailfish, I was always proud of my little role in the catching of a sailfish, which my Dad had beautifully mounted to adorn the family room wall in our home as I grew up.
But I guess the real reason I don’t fish much anymore is that, once you have caught a fish such as this, anything else might be a little anti-climatic ;)