View Full Version : Why we fish?

04-13-2007, 09:00 AM
Ever since Byron touched on this last week, Ive thought about it ever time my mind goes slack. Why do we fish? Why are flyfishermen different from hardcore hardware guys? I mean, honestly, flyfishers are truly different people. We're unique. Ok, Im gonna share some of my half-baked ideas on "Why we fish".

1. I think in native tribes, maybe labor was specialized. Some men hunted, some fished. Maybe thats why some guys today would rather chase deer than brookies.

2. Ok, no more theories. Ya know, no matter what stupid reason I come up w/ it is no where close to "Just to catch fish." Aint that weird? I fish, but not to catch fish. The people. All ff I know are awsome people. We are the last "hippies" or something along that (blue)line. The drift. There is something peacful about just fishing. Maybe thats it.

I fish b/c I have to. No...I fish to figure out why I fish :cool:. Im goin somewhere, Im on a journey to and unknown destination. Or, maybe, my journey is the destination. No matter what in the words of Jake: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is the day- sieze the moment"

Go ahead, share why you fish or why you think we fish.

Jack M.
04-13-2007, 09:21 AM
Part of the mystery of "why we fish" for me includes the insane thought every now and then that crosses my mind, usually on the way home from the stream, that I could wake up one day and decide to give it up forever. This crazy notion does not necessarily follow a skunking, sometimes it follows one of those spectacular outings, too. The thought passes quickly, but it seems very real when it occurs. Does anyone else ever experience this?

04-13-2007, 09:25 AM
When i was younger and when i first started fly fishing, i will admit that i fished to catch fish. Nowadays, i could really care less if i catch fish (although i'm not gonna lie catching is good). To me, like many others, it's a chance to get away from the "real" world and forget about my problems. Especially here recently, it's given me a chance to collect my thoughts and in some sense, get re-energized.

Another reason i go is because of the comradery between my family and friends with whom i fish. It's a great thing that fishing has brought us closer together between our many exploits on the stream. Some of the best memories i have involve fly fishing, but not really catching fish.


04-13-2007, 10:08 AM
I personally like the solitude the experience gives me. Standing in a stream takes you away from the rat race, the gripes at the office and the other weight we carry on our shoulders. It also reminds us of happier times, especially from our childhood, when we would be in those same streams with our fathers and grandfathers who have now crossed over that stream to the other side.

Now I find even more enjoyment as I spend time with my son who loves the sport as much as I do. It's seeing the look on his face when he catches a "monster" 6 inch rainbow on a fly he has tied himself and him asking when we can come back when we're leaving. Although catching fish is the fun part, it is not the main objective of my trips. It's the peace and tranquility of the surroundings that are the most important.

04-13-2007, 10:54 AM
Wow...great minds think alike - I was thinking of starting a thread on this very topic yesterday - just got too busy around the house. It's a great topic.

I think in my case, WHAT I fish for is just as big a factor as WHY. When I started as a young child, the species didn't matter. Later, as I got a little older, I was strictly a bass fisherman - I was that way all the way through college - growing up, I didn't have a boat, so I couldn't take advantage of the wonderful saltwater fishing around here, which is what gets most of the attention around here. Later on, as a young adult, I could afford to take a boat out, and I got into inshore saltwater fishing - speckled trout and redfish mostly. I still enjoy it, but now I'm focusing a little more on quality (and exposing my kids to fishing). I also discovered small-stream trout fishing last year, and now I'm an addict - we might even hop in the car tonight and drive up, even though the forecast doesn't look too good. Anyway, the point is that it is interesting to track the progression.

Why fish? Because it's fun is the short answer, I guess....

04-13-2007, 11:04 AM
This is something I wrote for a fishing friend when we moved away a few years ago. We still get together and fish at times. I think it sums up a lot of my reason for fishing.

Flies, Lines & Trophies

We have talked about the deep waters of life and decided that God knew best. So we left the deep pools to Him and concentrated on the faster water. A place where dry flies move fast, and His marvelous creation has but little time to make a decision. We have fished tailwaters and mountain streams. We have laughed and enjoyed meals and stories, and created some stories of our own. We guard them intensely for they are the true trophies. We love the challenge of selecting and casting the fly; the strike; feeling the tug on the line. I am so grateful to my friend for he has given me a treasure no other man can possess. Itís not gold nor money. It canít be passed on to others except by my sharing it. It is draped in glorious sunrises and sunsets. It echoes with laughter and moments of joy. It is tied with flies and unrolls like fly line in a perfect cast. It is surrounded by Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroats, and Brookies. It brings me joy and tranquility. And when I am old, I will still have it. Like wine it becomes more valuable as it ages, and when I can no longer get out of bed, it will still provide great pleasure. Thank you friend for this treasure - this treasure chest of memories, it could never be replaced.

Don Winningham

04-13-2007, 11:54 AM
for the challenge

04-13-2007, 11:57 AM
Like the others who have responded to this thread, I have to analyze my pursuit of fish from the beginning to try to answer the Why question. My first encounter with fishing was as a twelve year old watching others fish for brim in a VA creek near Charlottesville. My father was a career Army Officer, and we moved and lived all over; he was not an outdoorsman, but did support my fledgling efforts at hunting and fishing. When offered the chance to fish a bit that day, I took it, and have fished ever since. From VA to New Mexico, and there I first was exposed to flyfishing, in an alpine setting, Fenton Lake, above Jemez Spgs, where an old man with a rowboat took pity on me trying to chuck a fly from the shore and took me with him in the evening to cast to rising trout. The lake was boiling, and even I caught fish; pretty much a flyfisher since, although there was that bass phase with home-made float tubes, minnows and a fly rod in strip pits in SE Kansas. Next real exposure was bass and other warmwater fish in central KY, and a gradual return to trout. Now make an annual Western trip, and get into the Smokies and the Clinch as often as I can. I do know Why I flyfish: because it is the purest, next to noodling, thank you no, form of fishing. Nuff for now. Skip

04-13-2007, 12:30 PM
I fish for the past. I fish to catch a tiny spec and see in it what the men who crossed over into these mountians seen hundreds of years ago. I fish to hear the rumble of a mountian stream. I fish to see a dry fly explode on top of a crystal clear pool. I fish to have stories to lie about for years. I fish because these are my mountians. God bless the fly fisherman!

04-13-2007, 12:32 PM
My grandfather introduced me to the Smokies when I was about 4 and taught me patience: He placed a watermelon in the stream and said we will wait until it has cooled. The Smokies have never left my heart.

I fly fish the Smokies because it allows me to escape. Where I live I can go catch 40 lb redfish if I want to be surrounded by 50 guide boats and wait in line to launch my boat. I can share the stream with like minded folk that respect one another for why they came.

I marvel at all that God has done and say who am I (Job 38-40). I watch my Caddis float and get sipped. Sometimes I get distracted by the beautiful flower, flitting bird, falling leaf, the sounds, the smells, the sun light filtering through the trees, and so forth. But I always marvel that the water keeps on coming.

Fly fishing is an excuse to do that and to develop friendships.

And if it were not for the above reasons I would probably use getting a kick out of watching the "tubers" to go fly fishing.

04-13-2007, 12:59 PM
This is a question that I have never really been able to get an exact anwser for.

Many of you know me from the Orvis store in Sevierville. I moved here from MO in 05' to manage the fly fishing department. Before that I had a real job and traveled a lot, but fly fishing was always on my mind, night and day, I couldn't get enough. It doesn't really matter what species I catch either, as long as it is on a fly rod and preferably moving water. The year before moving here I racked up 25,000 miles on my new truck driving to different fishing destination in the midwest. I would fish from sun up to sun down, by myself and wouldn't even stop to eat lunch. It was like a bad addiction or something.

Now after being in beautiful east TN for well over a year and fishing 90 to 100 days a year, I still don't have the anwser. But I seldom fish sun up to sun down and would rather have a little company while on the stream to share the experience and don't mind teaching rather than fishing. I guess I grew up as a fisherman in some way. I still get irritable if I haven't been able to fish for a week or so, just ask some of my friends.

I get to play with fly fishing stuff all day long, but still don't know why I enjoy flyfishing so much. It is a release, challenge, get-a-way, refreshing. I don't know it makes me who I am. I want people when I die to say yeah Kris he was a fly fisherman.

Whatever the reason you do, just do it because fly fishing is a fantastic sport, pastime, hobby, and way of life. By the way I must say I love East TN, and may never leave, the fishing is amazing here and you've got it all.


04-13-2007, 01:03 PM
1) Because anything else is just wasted time.

2) Genetics: (has to be) My father and grandfathers were outdoorsmen.

04-13-2007, 02:20 PM
For me it is a lot of things. I grew up fishing, first with a cane pole and bait, the spin casting, spinning and bait casting tackle with artificial lures, jigs etc. I fished with my dad, we had some good times. We rarely caught much, but we ate vienna sausages and snacks and talked some too. We fly fished for Bluegills once in a while (which as a kid seemed absurd even compared to the ultralight rod!) We moved to a farm and I could fish every day, often did during the 8-9 months when the fishing was good in KY. I could think then about anything in the world while fishing and still do! Except for that moment when a fish would take and I managed to hook it; for that few moments I would be completely part of the wild world of the fish, I still love it. I love them all if they fight back, and if they are a little bigger and harder to get to the hand (or net if too big) then all the better, for the sensation lasts a little longer. I had always said that I would move to Knoxville or Asheville if I had the chance (for the mountains), the chance came along in the early 90's and I knew I would have to learn to fish for trout, and with a flyrod........... for the challenge and the rythm. It requires more focus to wade a wave a flyrod, when connected with flyrod you are more on even footing with the fish, such a rush. Its a good excuse to get out in the woods and to really spend time there not just walking through. No, with the flyrod in your hand you can actually stand there in the creek and have a bullet proof excuse for doing it! You're fishing! I have to admit I pick up the Hardware sometimes, in fact more than I used to because I have a few friends who fish for bass and they can't use a flyrod. I do take the flyrod with me though, and sometimes catch a few bass, still love them, they hit like a freight train!
The bottom line is the time to think (or not) and the momentary release from all worldly responsibilities when fighting a fish, a moment to admire, then back in the stream! I better stop I could ramble for hours!
Tight lines,

04-13-2007, 10:57 PM
I think the reason we fish is as varied as we are as individuals. But I do think there are a couple of "built in" needs that we have that fishing can satisfy.

I think we have a need to control aspects of nature. Some people like to call turkeys, ducks, even crows. Getting a wild animal to react to you in a manner you prescribe is a rush. Catching fish, especially on your own terms seems to fulfil that need.

Secondly, we are somehow drawn to water. Lakes, rivers, beaches, and for some, even golf courses are coveted places, loved by most. People build pools to party beside, even if they don't swim in them. Moving water seems especially relaxing. Everyone loves waterfalls.

Fishing, and trout fishing in particular satisfy these needs.

Add to that our memories of family and friends, and the new relationships we form, the mental vacations we can take from our worries by focusing on a single purpose... get a strike... and it is a powerful elixer.

And we get to wear cool hats that we our wives/girlfriends won't let us wear nowhere else.

04-14-2007, 10:03 AM
Tried your blog and could not get in. Have you shut it down?...... temporarily?

04-14-2007, 02:07 PM
yeah I'm in the process of switching over to a real web site called flyfishtennessee.com


04-14-2007, 03:35 PM
A few years back I loaded up my tent and some gear one April weekend and camped at the Elkmont camprgound. After a great day of fishing I was setting around my campfire and got out a pamphlet for the Elkmont campground area.

I had a pencil in my hand and I wrote these words on the pamphlet......

"If a person can not find solitude and peace here, you will never find it"

Last year while on a family camping trip to the Smokies, my 20 year old daughter found that pamphlet and she was the first person to have ever seen those words.

She asked me about it (when I wrote it, why, etc....) and I shared with her what I get out of fishing. I tried to explain to her, there are other things to catch out here besides fish.

I always return my fish to the stream, but the other things I catch........I keep with me and will never return them.

I think she understood................

04-15-2007, 11:18 PM
the mountains send water in streams---the stream water is new --the ancient stream beds hold the streams and let them flow into rivers.It is the sound and beauty of the new water that holds fish...it is the sound and beauty that holds us---the stream,flows,lonely,so we are attracted--a fish is caught---we compete with the stream and the nature of entomology---we release the fish--we fish ,because ,the stream tugs at our hearts-telling us-to return--because it is the quiet and the roar of the clear water that makes us find what we can in these beautiful places to soothe the lost virtues of life--it is kind of religious---it is basic-----

04-16-2007, 08:07 AM
I "fish" because if I tell someone that I want to spend the weekend standing in water and looking around they will think I am being silly. But "fishing", ahhh, that has a "purpose". Heaven forbid, in this day and age, that we just go outside and be still. Also, I find that when I am fishing, I am only concentrating on one insignificant thing, that is, watching my fly, and all other problems and concerns cease to exist for that time. I think that's called meditation.

04-17-2007, 12:07 PM
There are 2 reasons that I fish. The first is when I'm fishing, especially wading a creek, I feel like an 8 year old boy doing something the adult world wouldn't really approve of.

The second is a little more serious. Since my wife died, fishing is the only time that I can truly forget, if only for a few hours. In the kitchen, we had both picked out a picture of the other to put on the shelf. She picked one of me in Canada, standing on the cabin's porch holding a stringer. My hair is all over the place and I have on an old pair of jeans and a tee with "Punk Flamingos" on the front. I asked her why she picked that one, and she said, "That's easy, you never look happier than when you're fishing."

Rog 1
04-17-2007, 01:48 PM
I just passed my 60th year on this Earth and have been fishing all but the first two....I too made the transition from cane pole to spinning to the long rod....the act of fishing transcends all of life's worries and problems....the time I spend in the mountains is a near religious experience....fishing was the common connection between me and my dad and my grandfather...it is now one of the last strong connections my teenage son will actually acknowledge...I reconnect with my life long friend each year during a week of fishing the mountains for trout....it is a common thread that has woven itself into my life's tapestry....to each of us it has a unique and personal meaning but unites us all under a common interest.....