Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fishing Philosophy - Why Do You Fish?

Why do you fish?  This is a simple question when you first read it, but try and give a simple short answer.  It is almost impossible.

My first response would be, "Because it is fun."  It is fun to me, but why is it fun?  Many people, heck most people, would say that it is not fun.  Many that do think it is fun do not fish but once or twice a year, so they must find other things more "fun" than fishing.  And there are other things that I find fun like, baseball, spending time with my family, and even working out.  So why fishing?

Some people would say, "I fish to get away from everything in the real world."  This is part of it, you focus on the fishing and forget the rest of your worries while you are out there on the water.  But there are other things you can do "escape."  You can exercise, veg-out in front of the TV, read a book, heck there are countless things you can do for this.  So again, why do you fish?

Another great answer would be, "I fish to experience and become a part of nature."  Cool, I do too, but again, there are numerous things you can do to be a part of nature.  You can go for a hike, you can go kayaking or canoeing, mountain biking, camping, the list could go on and on and on.  So why do you choose fishing?

Maybe it is to, "Get back to my early human roots."  Yes, I am sure some early humans did fish, but they surely did not fish with a rod and reel the way I do.  They used nets or baskets, and before that I am sure they used spears, and before that their hands.  And, there are plenty of other types of "hunting" I could do.  Why am I not a "gatherer?"  Why do you choose fishing?

"I fish to provide."  I don't keep my fish 99% of the time.  Nor do most of the anglers I know, however some do.  But the ones that do could head to the grocery store or market and buy some fish cheaper and easier than it would be for them to go fishing for them.  Especially if you consider the cost of gas driving to and from the lake, the lure or bait, the line, and all the other gear they had to buy as well.  So why do they fish?

I really don't know the whole answer.  Nor do I think there is a simple easy answer to the question.  I think that each of these responses are part of the answer, as well as many other responses that others might have.  I fish because I enjoy it, I fish to find peace, I fish experience nature, and I fish because I always have.

Fishing is a part of me.  The way that God, my wife, my son, my family, and my friends, are all a part of me.  If any of those were missing, I think I would feel a void in my heart.  Fishing is the same way, it is a part of me, and that is why I fish.

Why do you fish?

Other related posts:
Why I Kayak Fish
Home Waters
A Roundtable Discussion of Organized Kayak Fishing Events


  1. As a quasi-subsistence angler who doesn't eat mammals or sketchy pre-packaged poultry, I do admit to fishing, in part, as a means to acquire fresher, more trustworthy protein. But that's only part of the reasoning. As you wrote, it is a complex balance of fun, perceived thriftiness, escapism, and natural connectedness sans drum circle. As kayak anglers/board fishers, we can claim some exercise benefits, too. But it really is an extension of one's being, and therefore quite hard, indeed, to describe. Cool question...

    1. One of these days, Andy, I am going to find the time and money to take my wife and kiddo up there so we can do some fishing. Y'all seem like great people.

      I am sure the answer is even much deeper than I went, and one day I will dig it out (I think it would require and entire book.) But there is only so much you can put in a blog post before most people stop reading. Maybe someday someone will teach "The Philosophy of Fishing" at a university somewhere.

  2. I just posted about this topic, read my thoughts on why we fish here: