Fish philosophy – focus on your hometown
The French philosopher Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am.” I will declare, using his thought, “I am thinking of fishing; So I am a fisherman.’
I had never thought deeply about fishing before, but one day in the middle of summer, I had plenty of time to think about it, and you know what I came up with? It is an emotional sport. This may make some strong men feel uncomfortable, but it is true. Fishing isn’t just about the challenge, the great outdoors, frying fish, or spending huge amounts of money on fishing gear. It’s about emotions and I’m going to make my case because you’re probably not a believer.
Over the course of a week or two this summer, the weather has alternated between bouts of lightning, rain, thunder, and then rain again. This was the weather that spoiled picnics, morning walks, making hay, outdoor weddings and, of course, fishing. It made me feel like a mess as summer seemed to pass before my eyes as I stared out the cabin window. Then it happened: the clouds broke as the sun came out! Ye Hao! I grabbed my gear and hurried off to the far shore. Free and finally!
Within minutes, I was cruising along a steep coastline with sunshine behind my back, nothing short of a treat after days of boredom. Fish or no fish I was content as a kitten in a glove, and if a grown man could purr, so was I. Then all of a sudden, the isolation was broken with “BAM” as my fishing rod nearly doubled. Some sharp tugs confirmed that this was not a rock snag but rather a large fish and that the fight was on. The locomotives were followed by long hauls indicated by the presence of a large pike or musket at the end of the line. That was exciting enough, but it was also a serious threat to the light tackle I had with my walleyes. Yikes!
After several anxious minutes, I began to close the distance. Finally, there was a pike of a good size, perhaps 38 inches (let us round it to 40 inches) which occasionally pierced the surface between deeper dives. This is just so much fun! However, as he approached the boat, its width and length revealed a problem—a fishnet. The net built into the boat was proportional to walleye and panfish. My net of pike and musk was hanging neatly on the sauna wall in the cabin. Good grief! If I’m expecting a world record walleye, pike or muskrat (which I do of course) I’ll need the big net in the boat. What was I thinking?
Trying to land a large, toothy pike with a rapala barely in its jaw is a difficult task at any time and especially when you’re on your own. So, after exhausting the fish enough to put it over the side of the boat, I wished I could break several laws of physics by putting a three-foot-long fish into a one-foot-deep net. With each net attempt, the partially suspended fish flops out of the net and falls back into the water. Eventually, the bait got caught in the net and the fish broke loose, slowly swimming along the surface before returning to the depths. Nuts! mice! I hadn’t even run out of despair from the moment it suddenly started to rain. difficult. While I was fighting the fish, I did not notice the wind picking up and the storm clouds over the top of the beach. Good grief! What could go wrong?
This particular rain was one of those rains referred to as the “cats and dogs” rain. I don’t know where the phrase came from, but it seemed to fit as I raced to a nearby island for shelter and got somewhat immersed in the process. I tied to a vacant dock and then darted under a large balsam along the shore. I was just beginning to appreciate the relative comfort of a tree when a thunderous bolt of lightning cracked near it. Yes! Suddenly my anxiety about getting wet was reduced to anxiety about being killed. I hurried down a rocky path to a small unoccupied cabin and settled down under the protection of a narrow roof. There, standing in the rain, I thought about my situation. Within a half hour or so, I felt the following: anticipation, satisfaction, elation, frustration, disappointment, disgust, fear, and a lack of anxiety. There were more feelings running through my mind than those associated with telling a tragic love story with a mysterious twist to a murder.
Finally the rain and thunder passed and some rays of sun came through the trees. I called my wife to tell her I was fine and told her my story. I told her that being so close to catching a big fish made my day. Apparently you are happy. They say it’s good to be in touch with your feelings. I think “they” must have been hunters.
Leo Wellenius lives in rural Cooke with his wife, Lindy. He has retired Lake Country Power at Iron Mountain. He is a frequent contributor to Hometown Focus and is the author of two books, You Won’t Cut Daisies and The Cabin Experiment. Leo can be contacted at email@example.com.