Part seven of the series on the reasons why we fish finds me contemplating a slightly different angle to that question. Since the original inquiry already assumes that we ARE indeed fishing, I thought it might be interesting to explore the reasons that KEEP us fishing once the addiction has taken root. My personal opinion is that it may not be as complex of a question as it appears to be. For me, the question boils down to one concept, that of novelty.
Novelty, as defined by the dictionary, is "something new or unusual", and angling as a craft certainly offers more than it's share of both. Fishing, because of the nature of the craft itself, offers a level of novelty, not provided by most other sports or activities. Because of the sheer number of species involved, and the fact that our quarry is another living organism, that as we discussed in last weeks essay, lives in an environment that is for the most part alien to us provides an equation that is complex enough to keep us interested, but solvable often enough that it keeps us coming back for more. And fly fishing, because it facilitates a level of involvement on the part of the angler most commonly in the way of fly tying can keep an angler engaged for years, and oftentimes decades. And if like me you dive headfirst down the rabbit hole and get involved in rod building as well as lure craft for conventional tackle, the chances for long term involvement through and because novelty are very high.
Recently Paul wrote a front page that referenced this series in which he detailed his philosophy of dividing his fishing pursuits into 3000 day segments. He does this by purposely changing, species, changing locations, changing techniques etc...in order to become the best fisherman that he possibly can. Although most of us may not be in a position to take advantage of the novelty offered by this craft in this capacity, we can engage in it in a similiar way, but on a smaller scale. An average day on the water finds me quite often wondering "what if" which is at the core of Afra Behn's opening quote regarding novelty. Once I feel I've reached a certain level of predictability in one aspect of angling, I know that without questions, exploring a new and often more challenging area of the craft is waiting right around the corner. Whether it's exploring a new body of water, or a new species or a new technique, or perhaps all three, the opportunities for novelty in angling are almost limitless, even within our own geographic boundaries.
This to me is one of the core essentials of the essence of fishing, and why it's so easy to become addicted to this sport. The idea that because of the limitless level of novelty, one can devote their entire life to this craft without ever really reaching a level of mastery of the sport where you feel you've reached "the end"....and that is because there is no end.
Hope you all have a great week,