Why I Fish...

Author JD Mader has been busy raising children, but his writing is as good today as it was when we got this story in 2012.

I fish because it brings me joy. That is the simplest answer. I fish because my grandfathers and their fathers fished and my father fishes. I fish because the concentration stills my brain, momentarily, and I can exist in the world as I wish it could be.


Existing in the world as I wish it could be...

I fish because I have missed so many fish. Had my rig ripped by so many 'somethings'. BIG somethings. I fish because I know that that fish is waiting, a prom date in a sedate dress, for me to come back with the right corsage.

I fish because I have gotten good enough to return almost all the fish I catch to the water safely. And when there is a catch, fish taste good enough with the right seasonings.

I fish because life has driven me, like all of us, indoors. I don't want to be indoors. I ride my motorcycle and I fish because that is about as outdoors as I can get. And when I say fish I mean hike, bird-watch, laugh, stare at the sun too long. Live.

I fish because it is a dying art and I don't want it to die with me. Most kids I see play fishing games on the TV. Not my girl.

I fish because some of the best and worst moments of my life occurred on the side of a quiet lake, near the trilling of a quiet trout stream, broiling on a boat, and standing by the side of my Grandpa's farm pond catching bass and bream and thinking, 'someday'.

I fish, and people give me weird looks, because they don't. Dog walkers and triathletes ask, 'are there really fish in there?'. I look at the lake and think, 'where the hell do they think fish live?' I have said it time and again, and will continue. And I will not apologize for repeating myself.

I fish because I think they are beautiful animals. I do not think they are cuddly. Beautiful, though.

I fish because I like the shoulder-hinged repetition of the fly rod...finally feeling the line when my dad said it so many times and I just couldn't.

I fish because I like to be near water. I like to watch the weather break. I like to fish in the rain. I love to fish in the winter, in Pennsylvania, where it is almost too cold, but if the trout are down, I sure as hell am.

I fish because I like to catch fish. That's what everyone thinks, but it is NOT true. I fish because I like fishing. And the fact that so many people don't get the distinction makes me feel like I better pack my rods on my bike and head to the lake for a little while – where things make sense and that prom date's waiting.


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