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Fishing can be tonic for the soul

Angling has a place in our lives, even if we don't get a bite

By
John Phillips
Scripps Howard News Service



On a recent weekend, I relearned not only why I liked to fish, but why I needed to go fishing.

I'd made plans to leave for a major saltwater trip to Alabama's Dauphin Island and had all my cameras, tape recorders, clothes and other gear packed and ready to go the day before the trip.

However, 30 minutes before I had to leave for the trip, we had a major family disaster that required me to calm down my wife and make several emotional phone calls.

I dealt with the problem right up until the time I grabbed my clothes and went out the door. Then all the way to the Gulf Coast I mentally tried to decide the best thing to do about our situation.

When I got up the next morning to go fishing, I thought to myself, "Well, at least today I won't have to deal with this problem." But when I opened my trunk to take out my camera gear and all the other necessities I needed to get article information and photos, I found the trunk totally empty.

I couldn't believe my eyes, and thought, "Surely I didn't leave all my equipment at home."

I shut the trunk again and then reopened it to look for my stuff but simply discovered an empty trunk. I hastily bought three disposable cameras at the corner store to use for shooting photographs.

However, by the time we'd traveled a half-mile from the shore, I'd forgotten all the problems at home and my disgust with myself for leaving my equipment at home.

The gently rolling Gulf of Mexico waters acted as a balm to my spirit. As I watched my rod tip waiting for a bite, the men on board joked, kidded, told stories and talked about their work and mine.

Then, because the fish didn't bite well, we spent our time running across the slick gulf with the wind in our hair (what little hair I had left). The salty air cleared out my sinuses, and the warm rays of the sun massaged my tense muscles and aching spirit.

As I thought about the therapeutic aspects of fishing, I remembered that I actually had used the catching of fish as my excuse for going fishing. But the friendships I made, the stories we shared, the food we ate, the sun, the spray, the wind and the waves all combined for a fun day.

Although we caught very few fish, I experienced one of the greatest fishing trips of my life. After a solid night of worry-free sleep and the remembrance of a great day, all the tension, anguish and stress I'd felt previously had disappeared by the time I headed home.

Perhaps we read too many articles and books and watch too many TV shows that tell us how to catch fish. I've realized that fishing has a place in my life even if I don't catch a fish or get a bite.

Here's the beauty of going outdoors: You may find a quiet stream, a wide blue ocean or a solitary rock just the medicine you need to take.

Fishing has a purpose for us all, and I've rediscovered its purpose for me.

John Phillips writes for the Birmingham Post-Herald in Alabama.
 

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You know, I was just thinking about this on Sunday. My 19 year old son has been going through some tough times over the last few weeks. Being 19, he has been way too busy to take time out for his dad (me).

He came by my house Sunday morning to talk and get away for the day. I suggested we go fishing (a real stretch for me).

We drifted around LEI for awhle, cruised by some other fishing haunts and for some reason couldn't even find a sea robin.

The entire time we were out (4-5 hours) we probably spoke for a total of 15 minutes, about nothing of any real importance to him.

When we got back to the dock my son said "great day, thanks alot dad" and gave me a hug.

All I thought was Great day? no fish, no breeze, green heads, mosquitoes, occasional morons blowing past me 50 feet away at full throttle?...........you bet!
 

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As I thought about the therapeutic aspects of fishing, I remembered that I actually had used the catching of fish as my excuse for going fishing. But the friendships I made, the stories we shared, the food we ate, the sun, the spray, the wind and the waves all combined for a fun day.


This guy could be in the Harpoontang!
 

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I enjoy the water as much as fishing myself...It to me is the most evidence that there is someone so much bigger than us out there that put these peices in such perfect order and to see it all work is an awesome experience that only guys like you and me can experience by being out there...Mother nature is a healer and i have been going through alot of tuff stuff in my own life and have been able to seemingly draw strenght from the trips i have taken out on the water because i acknowledge that there is a force within and behind all of this that i draw my strenght from...I had my 12 yr. old son with me the other night and after watching me throw net bunker he just looked so impressed and i told him that this is what fishing is all about...And he smiled...He had his share of action and was able to experience the things that some never do in a lifetime...Good Stuff....Pazman
 

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I agree myself...

I was down at the Manasquan inlet this past weekend for a walk with my wife... and it occured to me that I never *truly* relax until I'm near the water...

something about that salt air and watching the ripples (or waves)
 

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My parents dont really have the best marriage particularly because my father is always in a terrible mood, but every weekend when we make the trip to our place on the water in LBI he's like a totally different person, they get along great he appreciates every little aspect of life and I truly believe its because of the ocean, it changes him into the most loveable person....
 

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After they told Lou Gehrig that he was going to die, they asked him what he was going to do.

He said "I'm going fishing."
 

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My Dad and I ran a charter business together for 12 years. He died suddenly in '97 at age 62. I'll always miss him, but, when I'm fishing I think about him alot but it doesn't hurt. It's hard to explain. I can't fish enough.
 
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