The other day, I was standing in line at the gas station. The woman ahead of me was buying a fishing license. As she and the clerk waited for the machine to spit out her license, she asked, “So, does this license come with insurance? If I don’t catch any fish, can I bring it back?”
She was joking, but it got me thinking.
We all love to talk about the experience of being outdoors. We describe peaceful days on the water, and about the beauty of the sunrise or sunset. We talk about the scenery, or the fact we were the only one on the lake. And maybe that’s enough for some people.
But how many times have you told someone you went fishing and had them ask right away if the weather was nice, or the setting was serene? Probably never. That’s because when you tell someone you went fishing, the first question they ask is, “Catch anything?”
No more how much we like to talk about everything else, fishing is about catching fish. Sure, days on the water are fun, but if we’re honest with ourselves, a huge part of the definition of a successful trip is the number of boated fish. The other night, my brother and I were on Lake Miltona, fishing for muskies. He hooked a small muskie – 30 inches or so – but a muskie nonetheless. It was one better than me, and resulted in what I consider a successful trip.
Certainly, it’s always good to fish, but we’re lying to ourselves if we try to minimize the importance of catching them.