The thing about fishing is that there is absolutely no way to do it incorrectly. It’s human proof.
That doesn’t mean that a given angler might not catch fish on a given day. Sometimes boat motors don’t start. Sometimes bait casters tangle into amazing bird’s nests. Favorite lures can become lost in the toothy thrashing of a northern. But at the end of the day, there was fishing to be had. That’s a good thing.
Modern humans tend to orient their lives around indoor activities, often with an electronic component. Incoherent 140 character yelling about unimportant things on Twitter has become our new national pastime. Fishing will have none of that. There can be yelling, for sure, but it’s the actual verbal glee from hooking into a nice fish or it’s the frustrated string of expletives about treble hooks caught simultaneously in one’s clothing, the landing net and the fish’s mouth. But at least it’s actual yelling rather than electronic jousting.
Fishing pretty much requires one to be outdoors. That’s always a good thing. Fishing also allows for communication but it does so at a pace that’s human. Fishing seems to invoke a slower pace where thoughts are had, possibly expressed and then actually heard and considered. Anglers can talk to each other, the lazy dog who is happy to go along for a boat ride, or to the fish. Nobody is ever really wrong.
Fishing also involves teaching by relationships. I still love to hunt but the older I get, the more limited I am. Therefore, I can play dad to my sons by fishing with them. And it’s not necessary to fret over imparting life lessons. It’s just necessary to hang out together. The boys learn about their dad that way. I learn about my sons. Sometimes the biggest life lesson needs to be learned by the parent–namely, to just be there and be in the moment. Good things come just from that.
So as far as I can tell, the thing about fishing is that there really is no downside. We still bring our humanness to the water but the fish don’t care. We are just practicing a more healthy way of being human and we may even get to enjoy a tug or two on the other end of the line.