Angle of the Angler

Written by BG Howard

March 14, 2024

While at a local sporting goods retailer in search of more ammunition to be used for target practice, a gentleman (Harry for the sake of reference) happened to be purchasing fishing tackle.  He proceeded to embark upon the process of listing several anglers’ tales which included one occasion when he’d, reportedly, landed a twenty-three pound bass. 

A considerable amount of time was consumed as two or three people gathered around to hear the details of Mr. Harry’s fishing exploits.  He disclosed the painstaking ritual of waking long before daybreak on a typical Saturday morning, loading twenty or thirty pounds of fishing gear, a cooler and other paraphernalia into his trusty pick-up.  Then, according to him, he’d embark upon a drive off into some remote area of the county to a destination at any of the many local river tributaries. 

Mr. Harry, in classic angler fashion, only hinted at the exact location of his “secret” fishing hole so as to not give up the favorite hiding place.  He proceeded to speak of the “joys of fishing” which require waking extremely early, sacrificing comfort and posting up creek side to sit for hours.  All this, while on the lookout for snakes, warding off mosquitoes, yellow flies and other biting insects for the sake of enjoyment and a few minutes of relaxation.

Full realization of the aspects surrounding Mr. Harry’s love for fishing then came with the understanding that his desire to be at the creek keeps him from the company of his wife.  As well, he pointed to the fact that while casting his reel or sitting with a pole in the water, there’s no “obligation” to anyone for any reason as, “I was at the fish creek” serves as viable justification for all flaws. 

Who can honestly argue the point that a person in the middle of nowhere isn’t able to receive a cell phone signal?  That, within itself, would debunk most any requirement, request or emergency if there’s no way to get in touch with them.  Without any means of being contacted, Mr. Harry had essentially found a way to escape the cares of the world and not be subjected to significant consequence.  And that appeared to be the entire aim of his love for the art of fishing.

An entire day spent at the creek from five or six in the morning until late evening, when one returns without having caught anything, isn’t a wasted occasion can only be understood by a true angler.  The fact that peace obtained from fishing more than offsets the risks of being stuck in the mud, falling off into the water, contamination of poison ivy, poison oak, and others is certainly worth exploring. 

Relaxation comes by way of a number of different means for most people but, honestly, without considerable risk.  Certainly, Mr. Harry could elect to travel a few miles east to the Atlantic coast or a little farther to the Gulf Coast of Florida and have the luxury of fishing off a pier or from the beach.  Imagine the true relaxation that comes with being able to post up on a relatively clean concrete pier with a cooler filled with your favorite drink (since not having fish in it) versus trudging through the woods trying to blaze a trail to the creek’s edge.  And then, there’s the concern of trying to keep from possibly falling off into the water as one tries to maneuver the rugged terrain.

Consider that Mr. Harry’s goal of getting off to himself would separate him from those in his immediate social circle.  His time at the fishing creek doesn’t include the wife, the kids or grands, a cell or home phone and no obligatory commitments.

In short; if you know someone who spends a considerable amount of time engaged in the typical activities of an avid angler, but have never had them extend an invitation…  Well, my humble opinion suggests that would require a true re-assessment of the relationship.  I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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