Things worth learning: fishing



What

“Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fish are often caught in the wild but may also be caught from stocked bodies of water. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping. … In addition to being caught to be eaten, fish are caught as recreational pastimes.” (Wikipedia)

The only kind of fishing I’ve done is angling for wild fish. I’ve usually fished for recreation, catching and then releasing the fish.

Why

Recreational fishing is an easy and inexpensive hobby. It’s a good way to relax, too, because you have to slow down and be patient. You can fish alone or with other people, which is even more fun.

You can be as serious or as casual about it as you want to be. There are expensive versions of the equipment, but it’s better to start with affordable ones.

How

The best way to learn how to fish is for someone experienced to teach you. Then you have to keep trying.

Before my family moved to Claremore when I was 4 we lived out in the country between Claremore and Verdigris, on land my grandfather owned. My dad taught me how to fish at a small pond that was a short walk from our house. He was serious about fishing back then. We would often have fish for dinner three times a week. Fried crappie is still one of my favorite meals. I love eating freshwater catfish, too.

When I was older my family rented a small house on Grand Lake in Northeast Oklahoma. When the weather was warm enough we’d spend the weekends there, and most of the summer when we weren’t in school.

My brothers and I would get up early and start fishing for bluegills in the shallows between the shore and the dock. We’d have competitions to see who could catch and release the most fish in a day. It was usually whoever started the earliest.

On Saturday nights we’d stay up and fish for crappie from the dock. We’d sit and talk while we watched our poles. It was a lot of fun.

Over the years I’ve had less time for fishing, but I still enjoy it. I spent the afternoon before my wedding reception fishing off a pier at Galveston with one of my brothers. I’ve trawled for spoonbills with my dad and my brother on a frigid January day in Oklahoma. Recently I took my daughter to a local pond for the first time; she caught a tiny fish, but I only caught leaves.