When I started this little series 9 weeks ago about the reasons why we fish, the world was in a much different place. I had some semblance of an idea of where I wanted to go with this, and how I wanted it to culminate, but never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd be philosophizing about it under the dark veil of a worldwide pandemic.
The topic of fishing as an escape from reality has probably never held more significance than it does now. Although here in South Texas we are under a "shelter in place" mandate from the local government, it does allow for some leeway in terms of outdoor activities as long as we maintain social distancing, and crowd management standards. Having said that, the entire reason I fish is one of social distancing. I've upset some perfectly good fishing relationships by abandoning my partner, and wandering off on my own to recon the far reaches of a Redfish flat or some unexplored cove in the local river. It's not that I am antisocial per se, it's just that fishing for me represents an escape from the obligation of...well...just about everything else in my life that I am obligated to, and that includes being around other people.
But, an interesting thing has happened these last few weeks. As I've watched the world come to a literal standstill over a completely invisible foe, I have had a bit of an epiphany regarding the nature of our interconnectedness. For many including myself who tend to lean towards the enjoyment of isolation, this has been a painful, but perhaps a necessary reminder how much we need one another in both good and bad times. I have found myself on both the giving and receiving ends of providing comfort during these difficult and uncertain times, and it has certainly reminded me how important it is to let those in your life know how valuable they are to you.
So, even though this week's Front Page was supposed to be about how fishing provides an escape for all of us who choose to use it as such, it is also about how maybe more of our angling escapes should include a good friend to share the experience. For in times like these, the memories of a profoundly shared angling experience with a good mate may just provide enough of an escape to get you through the rough times with a little more poise and a lot less mental anguish.
Hope this essay finds all of you and your families safe and healthy,