My Dad, bless his soul, always told me, “Son, you’ll have lots of opportunities in your life to discuss politics, religion, and fishing. Stick to fishing.”
I plan on sticking to fishing in this issue. But there are some similarities whether you’re discussing politics, religion, or fishing.
First, it seems to me that often times we want to see things as black or white, yes or no, good or bad. But my take is that’s just not the way the world (or fishing) works. It’s all about the gray areas; those expanses between the two extremes. We’d probably be more comfortable if things were either or, but they’re not.
Fishing in many ways parallels life. We would all love to pull up to a spot, cast our bait out, and have fish lining up to take our bait. Bait, cast, catch. Simple. Easy. But just not how fishing (or life) works. Every spot on any given day requires some sort of adjustment.
All of us can argue that “there was this one time” where “spot, cast, catch” was exactly what happened. It was “one of the best fishing days I ever had” we might tell our friends. But it was also the exception. That’s very likely why we remember it so vividly.
I guess my point here is we can all sit around and discuss fishing and equipment and baits and spots and tactics till, as my Dad also said, “the cows come home.” Reality is all of these things change from day to day, minute to minute. And all this stuff (the spot, tactics, equipment, baits, etc.) are in play and make coming up with a “black or white” plan simply impossible. Kinda’ like life, huh?
All of us have had the experience of pulling up on a fishing spot, getting our gear in place, and only then discovering the action was painfully slow or nonexistent. But if we wait patiently or change something or try a different method or lighter line or whatever many times we change our luck.
Flexibility and adaptability can yield big benefits. In fishing. In Life. As I’ve gotten older I have realized this more. That bait that worked so well last trip may not be the secret ingredient this time. For many years I belligerently stuck to one bait, one technique, etc. for a given situation. Many times that didn’t yield fish. But I was determined that I was doing the right thing and wouldn’t consider making any change or even slight adjustments. Then I got older.
Looking back I wonder just how much fishing (and catching) time I wasted through simple hard headedness. Had to have been a lot. Only in the last 10 years or so have I really started “exploring”. Listening to others, asking questions, considering variables, and so on. I think that’s called being a little more open minded. Best of all, I really do catch more fish now. And have more fun as well. In my case change is indeed good.
Next time you’re out on the water take a chance and try something different. Maybe you won’t catch that trophy you’ve been after all these years, but you’ll at least be doing some stretching. And at the least it will keep you from being tempted into a conversation about politics or religion!
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