Thoughts on fishing

Some people have the impression that fishing is doing nothing and getting away with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if these same people believe that there are reasons to live other than fishing.


Fishing, it turns out, is good for your love life. According to an “infographic” at, two-thirds of the couples in relationships currently boat or fish together because it’s “relaxing, playful, exciting and romantic.” Thirty-eight percent of the men — listen up, ladies — say they are impressed by a woman who can bait a hook.

Saying “I’m going fishing” is a pretty good way to inform someone that your day will be spent meaningfully occupied, and that whatever else they had in mind for your day will have to wait. If you want to add a sense of urgency, say, “We’re almost out of salmon, and I have to catch some before the run is gone.”

When people are asked in surveys why they go fishing, many of them say that it’s to relax in the peace and quiet of the outdoors. I’m skeptical that they can still find anywhere to fish where they can relax, let alone find any semblance of peace and quiet. But then I mostly fish Kenai Peninsula waters. Obviously, the people in those surveys don’t fish the Kenai River in July.

Some people get their kicks by competing in fishing tournaments. The “Super Bowl” of these is the Bassmaster Classic, a contest that started at Lake Meade, Nevada, in 1971. The annual event now attracts thousands of spectators and is televised live on ESPN. Winner of the 2013 event, Cliff Pace, took home the first-place prize of $500,000. I can’t compete with Cliff. My most memorable fishing competition was when I bet one of my sons a dollar that I could catch more pink salmon in half an hour than he could. I’d have beat him, but my rod broke just as the winning humpy, a feisty buck, nosed up to the boat.

If you have a penchant for beating all others to the fishing hole, consider the Allison XB-2002. Hailed by its maker as the fastest and best built performance bass boat on the water, this 20-footer is capable of speeds well over 100 mph.

Getting an understanding of the reasons why I fish involves a lot of thinking, an activity I try to avoid. The one time I tried it, I concluded that thinking was a waste of time that could better be spent fishing.

Blogger Johannes Nelson, in his blog at, came up with “10 Reasons Why Fishing Might Be the Greatest Thing Ever.” Some of them can’t be printed here, but here’s one I liked: “If you go on a long fishing trip alone, family and friends will think you are quite the contemplative adventurer, even though most to the time you are cursing and trying to get hooks out of trees or your own clothing.”

Fishing teaches the rewards of patience. There’s seldom any instant gratification involved. You have to “pay your dues,” and sometimes those are high. You learn that to catch a fish requires some waiting, but that the reward almost always is worth the wait.

Les Palmer can be reached at