By Nichole Delio
Just like most things worth practicing, fishing requires a lot of patience. You might not think about it on the days when you cast into the water and the bite happens non-stop, but fishing is unpredictable enough to give you a range of experiences.
Think about the other kinds of days. You know the ones I mean - they're the character building ones, the days that test the limits of your patience. Days like that, you might cast for hours and not even get a single bite. The pattern might be this: Breathe in and cast and exhale as the lure flies through the air toward its landing spot in the water. Crank it back in with a motion you've done thousands of times...over and over without the slightest indication that a fish is on the other end.
The key to enjoying all of fishing is patience. You could say that fishing helps you build that quality of character, but it also takes a certain amount to get started in the sport in the first place.
Fishing should be enjoyed. Don't take it so seriously that it ever transforms a good day into a bad one. There's a saying you might have heard: "A bad day of fishing beats a great day at work, any day." There's truth behind that. Think about how fishing helps us step out of the everyday boxes that we live in. Your box might contain a 9-5 job, family obligations, an office, long hours in a car, or stress from deadlines.
Fishing is a release from all that.
Fishing is also connection. It's time we can spend with people we love. Think of a father and son sharing that special first-catch moment - there's a special twinkle in the eyes of the boy and a big, beautiful smile on his face. Fishing can also bring a couple closer together; a husband and wife might spend hours together on the water, enjoying one another's company. Maybe they're talking, or maybe there's only the sound of their fishing and the nature around them.
Something happens to you when you're fishing. You can't help but take notice of your surroundings. Mother Nature surrounds you until she's cascading through your awareness. The sun shines bright on your face, the birds sing and chirp and fly overhead, and there's a fresh breeze that passes through your hair. Life passes by so fast - fishing is a way to slow it all down. It's a way to appreciate what's right in front of you, right now.
If you ever lose a fish, learn to accept that. Maybe you'll be frustrated, and maybe you'll get upset, but let that feeling pass. Then pick up your rod and make another cast. And another one. As long as we take good care of our environment, there will always be more fish to catch.
Try not to hurry, even if you think you should. It rarely helps, and usually makes matters worse. Hurrying is how I ended up with a hook through a finger. I hadn't been catching anything all day long, and then, out of the blue, I had a carp on the line. When I got the fish to shore, I realized that my net was on the other side of the pond. My panicked thinking was that I'd lose the fish if I waited for someone to bring me the net, so I reached down to grab the carp out of the water. BAD IDEA. The carp flailed and flopped (as I should have expected it would) and I got a hook all the way through my finger.
What should have I done? Secured the fish with the net before trying to pull it out of the water.
Fishing is a wonderful sport and hobby, and for some of us it's a passion. Just remember to take the time to enjoy everything it has to offer. Have patience with it. You're not going to go out there and catch a trophy bass in five minutes of fishing. (Well, you might get lucky and do so, but generally, you are not.) So have fun with it. Get dirty, get your hands wet, be a kid again. Enjoy that sunshine, take in that fresh air, and soak up all that Mother Nature has to offer. But most of all, be patient. After all, it is fishing, and unpredictable is the name of the game.