This weekend we are joined by a guest writer – Patrick is a freelance outdoor writer. He started fishing at 4 years old and has been “hooked” ever since. The childhood fun has turned to a writing career and lifelong hobby which has taken him to many countries worldwide.
As a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, I’m not afraid to say it: Sometimes things get a little boring while hiking or camping. This sets up a confounding conundrum. You certainly want to enjoy the great outdoors as much as your time on Earth allows, but you wouldn’t mind having something else to do while breathing the world’s freshest air.
If you hadn’t already guessed, I have a suggestion in mind. Angling is a phenomenally popular activity, which can soothe the soul and fill your belly. And it is an especially enjoyable and well-suited activity for hikers and campers.
Glad you asked. I’ll give you five reasons:
1. Fishing Allows You to Get in Touch with the Natural World in Yet Another Way.
Those who spend their free time trekking through the dirt, bugs and cold of backwoods USA do so for a very good reason: They love the natural world. Whether they’re catching lightning bugs, watching birds or taking photos of delicate wildflowers, most hikers and campers love spending time in nature. Fishing provides yet another way to do that. As new anglers quickly learn, the art and science of fishing provide lessons about countless aspects of the natural world, including biology, ecology, botany and behavior.
2. Fishing Works as Either a Solo or Social Activity.
I’m kind of an introvert, so I typically prefer the Zen-like experience of fishing alone. But on social occasions, I certainly enjoy fishing with friends and family. If you think it is fun to real in a big fish yourself, wait until you see your spouse or child catch something. Besides, when you are fishing for some species – catfish, carp and bluegill come to mind – you’ll spend a lot of time just sitting around. A good friend or loved one helps make the slow times pass a little more quickly.
3. Fresh Fish Is the Greatest Campfire Dinner in the World.
While modern anglers often ply their craft in the name of sport, you can still fish for the same reason your ancestors did: You are hungry. Depending on where your travels take you, you may have the chance to catch anything from salmon to trout to perch. And fresh fish is not only delicious, it is easy to cook in a variety of ways while you are camping. You can fry it up in a pan, roast it high over the fire or simply throw the whole thing in the coals and eat it caveman-style.
4. It Won’t Cost You a Fortune to Get Started.
As a lifelong fishing addict enthusiast, I can assure you that it is entirely possible to spend obscene amounts of money on fishing gear. But here’s the thing: You don’t need to do so to catch lots of fish and have a blast in the process. All you need to get started is a two-piece or telescoping rod, a spinning reel, some line and a few basic pieces of tackle. You can usually assemble a high-quality set of these items for less than $200 or a bargain-basement version for less than $50. Once you are hooked interested in fishing, we’ll talk about how to spend more on a new rod than I spent on my first car.
5. It Is Easier than You Think
Look, you are probably not going to go out and catch an 8-pound bass on your first trip. Yet, while catching really big fish or impressive quantities of them is challenging to even the most experienced anglers, catching a fish or two isn’t terribly difficult. If you learn the basics of fishing; experiment with a variety of baits, tackle and techniques; and, above all else, persevere, you can probably catch fish on your first trip.
One of the smartest things you can do is to talk with any local you can find about the tips and tricks that help catch local fish. Most will be more than happy to help, and you’ll often find their advice valuable.
If you can honestly consider these reasons and not feel compelled to give fishing a try, then it just may not be the right activity for you. But most hikers and campers I’ve ever encountered have loved learning how to fish as much as they’ve loved perfecting their other outdoor skills. Give it some thought, but be careful – fishing is a terrible temptress, who can quickly take over your thoughts.