Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Passion? Or Compulsion, Obsession, Addiction?

With the recent episode of buck fever in Texas on a dove farm, one may wonder if there is anything comparable in fishing? (In general … we know there is something akin in deep-sea bill fishing …)

The lake is frozen, but I am there with a 5oz sinker, casting and watching the weight skitter across the ice. I carry a thirty pound backpack in the vain hope that maybe I will end up using one lure in my box of spinner baits. I carry 25 different types of plastics, even though I know the only one virtually “guaranteed” to work.

What is it, that I go fish, knowing, knowing I could not possibly catch a fish with water just coming off thaw? Is this a passion, an uncontrollable force that drives me to the edge of the water?

When pressed, however, I cannot dissect what I actually like about fishing. I appreciate a really good cast, with the right lure, and perfect presentation as an act of competence. I know If no fish bites then there are no fish there. When I catch a bass, I go into reel madness, trying to make sure I do not lose the fish; I am dragging the fish out of its element, at most, 10 seconds from surface to shore. Maybe measure and weigh it, take a picture, but then back it goes, and the whole thing begins all over again, at the next point. This is not like painting, or racing, or cooking or even international arbitrage in fixed-income securities (well, maybe more like that …) I, however, do not feel the habit unwanted or unpleasant and a doctor would be hard-pressed to recommend I undertake therapy in any sense – at least none of the five I have had.

Maybe it has nothing to do with fishing, but just being outdoors, preferably in the sun, noticing the clouds, the smell in the air … I have been known to cast into the sunset over a glass-like lake, with no possibility of catching anything, just to look at the scene. As I hold the fish, my first words are “thank you” to no one in particular.

Is it just instinct at play? Acquiring a competence in a life-supporting skill? One could actually support oneself? Like hunting, trapping, plasma TVs, is it just hard-wired into the Y-chromosome? On the other hand, writing, painting, composing are agonizing, and terribly easy to postpone.

Is it the concentration, the possibility of meditation, of peace and quiet? I still have no idea.

Perhaps it is like Browning’s My Last Duchess: the word chosen says more about the utterer than the fisherman.

No comments: