If you speak to fishermen from across the country, one message rings clear, they want to be able to catch fish. Some may want to keep their limit while others want to throw everything back but all of them want to have a decent chance of catching a few. The other common thread among the angling community is that we want to leave the resource in better shape than we found it.
Fishing isn’t your run-of-the-mill sport. It is more of a lifestyle that is passed down from generation to generation. It is also an activity that allows a higher level on connection across generationals. The connection that people strive to create is waiting there at the end of a line. Most fishermen were taught from a family member and provides a path to share knowledge and history. But fishing is so much more than that.
Fishing connects the young folks to nature. It teaches them about conservation as well as patience and humility. It is also really hard to use an Ipad while holding a rod. Kids need fishing now more than ever and frankly, fishing needs them. We should all be working towards a brighter future for fish and for kids that will hopefully be trying to catch them.
When fishermen take up causes, this should be the one that gets the most investment, attention, and involvement. But, we find ourselves polarized now more than ever before. The fights over who gets how much of a quota, how many fish we can keep, and how much each group contributes to the economy are taking center stage.
We all need to take a breath and think about what is important. Our ancestors taught us how to fish and how to care for nature. Should we be selfish and worry about what we can take today or should we be conservative and worry about what we will leave for the future? Would predecessors approve of who we have become? Are we truly doing what is best for the next generation? These are all questions we should be asking before taking up the wrong cause or asking for more fish.
I believe that anglers are good people. I also believe they are being lead astray. Don’t fight for your “right” to fish. Fight for the next generation’s ability to be a part of something greater than themselves. Leave it better than you found it. Take only what you need. Put the future ahead of the present. We have a chance to turn this around. Let’s hope we don’t screw it up.