Of Fish and Men


It happened this way: "I am going fishing." Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We'll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they were nothing. John 21: 3

Men pursue fish and they always will, even if a bag of lively minnows happens to go to $ 12.99 / dozen. Men fish as their fathers did and their fathers did before them. Their rods and reels, they comfort them.

Literature has guys portrayed in the extreme, as determined fishermen: men like Melville's mysterious mad-man Captain Ahab relentlessly hunting for the elusive Moby Dick the Great White Whale (may I add, this was a sperm whale with teeth and not just a harmless baleen ) or Papa Hemingway's gentle old man of the sea, Santiago, who dreams and reality was to catch a magnificent marlin with only his bare hands. Both men came prepared with appropriate the appropriate tackle to land his finned foe – a harpoon! Unfortunately, the pursuit proved fatal for the former fisherman and a disappointment to the latter, although the Old Man came home with proof of what he caught!

A more modern-day media example of men pursuing swimming creatures, coupled with their dreams of adventure and profit, is evident on the Discovery Channel's show Deadliest Catch. Although scales are replaced for claws in this case, the viewer can clearly see as to what effort and endurance men are willing to subject them in catching king crab in the torturous, frigid throes of the Alaskan Bering Sea. Witnessing the insane working conditions of crew battling not only crafty crustaceans, but wild breakers of freezing water crashing over and sloshing upon the open deck and the storming seasling booms, cables, and large cage traps around as if they were toys, gives a whole new meaning to grandma's expression of playing unprepared in cold weather, "You're gonna catch your death!" No thanks! I'd rather be on a quiet creek bank here in Texas fishing for perch with a cane pole and a can of worms.

What of the lessons learned of fish and men? Can we come to realize just who may be done by what? As disciples and practitioners of the science (and art) of fishing, each man becomes a specialist in his own way. Men study the procedural patterns and behaviors of fish: the what, when, where, how they feed, breed, lurk, school, and think … studying the very depths of their minds. Call us "no sport" for developing high-tech fish finders that far surpassed any sonar capabilities any of the allies had during WW II, and all this can be mounted right on the dashboard of your boat! Men will also invest large sums in "rigs" (large bass boats with matching custom tandem trailers) pulled by their evenly behemoth trucks to lakes over 3 hours away; enrolling in tournaments and chasing those Wide Mouths, that they have to surrender to officials alive and release after catching. Call us crazy for being on the lake at the crack of dawn believing the same old passed-down-from-our-fathers knowledge that fish bite best at sunrise like we humans eat breakfast. Men, too, have been known to fish long into the night by lantern off dock / pier, lured by the thinking that the swarm of bugs attracted by tropism, in turn, cause fish to gather festively in great numbers for the nite life there.

Why, men only have to (easily) convince themselves of the fact that a place looks "fishy" and say so. The declaration puts a positive spin on the word, even if it does not turn out not to be true. Fish do not school for merely feeding and protection – it's survival sure and the exchange of ideas. In each of their individual tiny brains is an innate desire to eat and a sense of a minnow's (and the man's on the other end) despair. Fish fully realize that men are transported away by the excitement and anticipation of landing a "big one." They collorate to taunt us by their surface surfaces near our corks, along the far shoreline, and way out in the middle beyond casting range. We curse and threaten them (the fish) with buying a boat or bringing waders next time. It's a wonder why we men will meet a Saturday, maybe a whole day Sunday, forsaking our wives and congregations to fish. And we exhibit an uncharacteristic patience in fishing for hours without even so much as a nibble, just drowning minnows. Our family and kids at home would sure appreciate some of that same patience, huh?

Fish are smart enough to know that men are caught-up a gambit of emotions that run from frustration to resignation, when at the end of the day they have little or little or nothing at all. But men compensate, leading us sometimes to tell fish stories as fillet hyperbole to cover our impotence. I fish, therefore, I lie. Our finny friends are sure we will be back – stuck with a reoccurring fishing fever worse than malaria. Pardon my pun: men are "hooked!" After the disappointment, each of us to the very man would agree that a bad day at the lake fishing beats any bad day working a honey-do list at the house.

Source by Gary Shaver