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#10961033 - 07/07/15 07:47 AM Fishing vs Catching Fish
Lloyd5 Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 323
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
It takes a long time for some ideas to soak through my thick skull. The difference between fishing and catching fish is one of those. I'm not a hundred percent sure I understand all of the nuances yet, but I think I have the major gist of it now.

When I was younger I thought going fishing was about catching fish. And I guess for me that is what it was about. We kept and ate fish in those days, and bringing home a good stringer was bringing home the bacon. When I'd come home with a big stringer of fish every one was happy because we all loved to eat fish, and we didn't buy fish in the store - you could if you lived in a big city, but we lived out in the boonies.. Except for fish-sticks, you could buy those in the store, but those were pretty nasty. Family faces lit up at the sight of fish coming in the kitchen door, and for a young-un - that was pretty good stuff.

Later on in my life the fishing was about catching fish too, but now it had morphed. I was only after bass, only large mouth bass at that, and size is all that mattered. Small bass were somehow embarrassing to catch. Every other kind of fish caught was not just accidental, but a waste of time that could have been used on bass instead. This was a highly defined kind of fishing that had a very specific goal. Catch a 10lb or larger large mouth bass, that was the goal. I didn't fish tournaments, they had different but quite similar goals.

Then that somehow lost its appeal and fishing morphed again into a different form. Now I was happy to catch any kind of fish using any kind of technique. I'd fish for catfish one night, then bluegills in the morning, bass in the afternoon, and gar in the evening. Or I'd go pier fishing in the ocean when I had the opportunity. I went deep sea fishing off a small boat for dolfin (mahi-mahi or some such [censored] name now), or mackerel or barracuda or just whatever we could get to bite. Then carp the next night, and so on. That was my anti-bass specific phase, where I no longer considered myself a "Bass Fisherman", but just a "Fisherman". I think it was something about everybody and his brother getting onto the bass fishing bandwagon that got me off of it. I have never liked being in crowds, physical or metaphorically, neither one. I was a "Fisherman", but it was still about catching fish.

Then I got turned on to fly fishing. So I became a "Fly Fisherman". That's not a crowded field in Texas my brothers. While there is a huge amount of opportunity for fly fishing, most Texans are in the bass craze, or they are after a specific kind of fish they like best - like catfish for just one other example. Not that I criticize them - I was there too, and for a long time, and it is definitely a lot of fun. Hell, I love to catch bass and catfish on the fly rod, they are both wonderful fighters. Of course these days I do the catch and release thing. I rarely measure or weigh or photograph them unless I'm planning to write about that fish. I almost never, but still sometimes do, bring home fish to eat. That could change at any moment though. Nothing about me and fishing seems to be settled.

While waiting on the river to go down so that I can get out there and fly fish, I have passed up innumerable opportunities to fish, right in my own yard, much to my wife's head scratching curiosity. She's been fishing like a fiend because the water is up and it is so easy to get to. She doesn't understand why I would pass it up. And for a while I wondered too, but just didn't "feel it" so to speak. So I didn't do it.

I think it is this: There's a difference between fishing, and catching fish. I want to go fishing, yes. But I want to do it the way I want to do it, and if it was just about catching fish, I'd be catching them right now, from my own yard. I do want to go fishing though. I want to wade waist deep into the river water, and throw the long slow cast of the fly rod. I want to watch the fly sail out and out and out and then turn over and land just where I wanted it to. And if I happen to catch a fish or two while fishing, why that'll be just fine.

But I no longer think its all that necessary. I suppose that if I never caught fish on the fly rod I'd eventually quit - maybe, maybe not. Its that close of a thing. And honestly, there are times when I go several trips in a row without a fish. And yet I keep going with no diminishment of pleasure.

So these days I think I am a "Fisherman" and not a "Fish Catcher." That could morph into something else some day - seems like I'm always changing. The changes come more slowly now though, so maybe this is the last stage, maybe it's not. I'll just have to keep fishing to find out.
_________________________
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer http://www.fishexplorer.com/tx

http://www.amazon.com/River-Proceeds-Wou...ds=on+the+river

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

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#10961142 - 07/07/15 08:40 AM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
rrhyne56 Offline



Registered: 02/16/01
Posts: 13190
Loc: McKinney TX USA
Good stuff Lloyd. I myself am an expert fisherman. Catching? Not so much.. LoL
_________________________
"have fun with this stuff"
in memory of Big Dale
RRhyne56, Flyfishing warden

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#10961348 - 07/07/15 10:11 AM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: rrhyne56]
Scott in Flower Mound Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 05/24/14
Posts: 559
Loc: Flower Mound, TX
Originally Posted By: rrhyne56
Good stuff Lloyd. I myself am an expert fisherman. Catching? Not so much.. LoL


And I thought I was the only expert fisherman that did not know much about catching. wink

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#10961354 - 07/07/15 10:12 AM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
Capt. Mac Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 759
Loc: Sanger
Well said Lloyd!
When I was just starting to get serious about fly fishing back in the late eighties, i worked with an older gentleman that I didn't know very well but I knew he was a fly fisherman. One day he returned to work after a week long trip to Colorado. Upon entering his office a co-worker asked " how was the trip", to which he replied " that was one of the best trips I've ever had. I thoroughly enjoyed it". The co-worker asked "oh yea, how many fish did you catch"? He said " I didn't catch any fish, didn't even get a strike". The co-worker looked puzzled and asked "I thought you said you had a good time"? He replied " I did, I had a great time".
I didn't really understand what he meant at the time but I sure do now and I haven't forgotten that little conversation. It reminds me that a trip isn't about catching fish - it's about fishing and there IS a difference.
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#10961411 - 07/07/15 10:36 AM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
Lloyd5 Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 323
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
The more I try to apply labels to what I'm out there doing with a fly rod - the less I seem to be able to define it. But when I just relax that little pea sized brain of mine and forget about analyzing it and instead concentrate on enjoying it, you know - being in the moment - the better I like it without definitions. But I do know this. I could have caught about a hundred fish (based on my wife's catch rate) since I've been waiting, and I haven't minded not catching those 100 fish at all.
_________________________
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer http://www.fishexplorer.com/tx

http://www.amazon.com/River-Proceeds-Wou...ds=on+the+river

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

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#10961920 - 07/07/15 01:59 PM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
Capt. Mac Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 759
Loc: Sanger
I think being labeled a fly fisherman is lable enough. Most people that have fly fished any length of time usually know the score - you enjoy a whole lot more of the aspects of fishing than just catching. Im reminded of a quote from John Geriach that goes something like " fly fisherman understand that the object is to catch fish but it's not necessarily the point". ( that may not be exact but you get the idea). And, I think, most fly fisherman try to catch as many different kinds of fish as they can - mostly because they are all more fun to catch on a fly rod - than to just target one species.
I almost get ticked when someone calls me a "bass fisherman". I assure them that I DO fish for bass but don't confuse me with a bass fisherman - I'm a fly fisherman.
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#10962094 - 07/07/15 03:23 PM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
Lloyd5 Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 323
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
Amen to that. Lately my favorite fish to catch on the fly rod have been yellow-cats. They are tigers!
_________________________
Texas State Editor: FishExplorer http://www.fishexplorer.com/tx

http://www.amazon.com/River-Proceeds-Wou...ds=on+the+river

Warm Water Fly Fishing Nut

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#10962268 - 07/07/15 04:54 PM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
Meadowlark Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 11/04/04
Posts: 2869
Loc: East Texas
I recently got "exposed" to a variation of this theme...one that I personally totally reject.

I was recently fishing a remote Alaskan stream for early king salmon...in the company of a few California types. In conversations, they constantly demeaned and ridiculed anyone that uses lures to fish with.... not to mention live bait(which I often use).

But, the ultimate strike of arrogance came when I out fished all of them using my single handed fly rod vs their spey casting rods. They actually believed that unless you caught your fish spey casting, then it didn't count.

Absolute arrogance. Extreme prejudice. Superior, holier than thou attitude that the fishing community at large would be much better off without.


Just for the record....I caught the largest king salmon ever caught on the fly from that river...and used a single handed fly rod in the process. Further, I caught the top three largest king salmon of the entire week for the entire camp, using single handed fly rod....and actually four of the best five fish for the entire week.

Sadly, my California anglers could only hide behind their prejudice.

So now within fly fishing community, we have the beginnings of a "sect" of people who claim superior methods with spey casting. I hope they join up with the other sect of fly anglers who forgo the actual hook preferring just the take.

I just have no use for any of them...and after catching record king salmon in Alaska, returned to my own ponds to fish for bluegills....its all good folks.

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#10962374 - 07/07/15 06:06 PM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
robert hunter Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 3352
Good read Lloyd. I feel you on the evolution of the fishing lifetime. I grew up chasing bluegill,bass and running trotlines and limb lines in the rivers for catfish. In a town of less than 200 in central Texas most of the people I grew up with if you showed them a flyrod at that time they would've thought it was a cane pole. I have not fly fished seriously for too long but quickly fell in love with the technicality of learning to read water and presentations that it provided. Even then I almost certainly always lurked in this section as I fish bass tournaments and normally posted over there. It seems like as time went by though a lot of the bass fishing guys seem to have the mentality of your California brethren lol. Really sent me over the edge one day I had just drop my boat off and was at the gas station when a couple of guys pulled up with a boat with rods it were rigged for bass. I struck up a conversation with them On how they did. I had already change clothes and definitely did not look like I was going fishing they look like why am I talking to them with a snobbish look on their face. They finally said they had caught five or six bass on Joe pool. Their tone changed pretty quick when I told them oh that's the lake I was on this morning I caught about 25 up to 7 pounds LOL. Of course then they wanted info on where and how and on what. I rarely encounter that type of attitude from the flyfishing world most of the time people are very willing to help someone get on fish. So that is what kind of brought me more into flyfishing as a whole. More to fishing versus catching some of those trips when you're on a high mountain stream and the only angler in sight it's always good just to sit back and turn a circle and look at the wonderful surroundings which you were able to sit in. Sometimes it makes me forget if I'm catching fish or not and it's just wonderful to be there. Although I do like to still go catching sometimes LOL. I completely understand on the in the mood and for what kind of fishing. Oh and I'm glad you wooped up on the snobs in Alaska
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#10964264 - 07/08/15 03:34 PM Re: Fishing vs Catching Fish [Re: Lloyd5]
fish 'till I drop Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 1985
Loc: Austin, TX
Meadowlark, well said. I couldn't agree more. You probably don't remember me, but I was asking for fly recommendations to catch bluegills several years ago and you gave me some suggestions that proved to be very good. Although I fished in Texas ponds and stock tanks with a fly rod for a number of years when I was a young man, I rarely used the fly rod for a period of probably thirty-five years. After I retired in 2001, I became interested again, bought a new fly rod and started using it for panfish. I still use spinning and bait casting gear more often than a fly rod because I live in Texas, fish in Texas (normally one morning every week) and I enjoy catching fish, not just fishing, although I release most of them. I also enjoy the total experience of catching, cleaning, cooking, and eating, however, so I continue the tradition fairly often.

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