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Fishing is For Fun!

by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)

One of My Favorite Fishing Spots: The Upper Guadalupe River Just North of San Antonio

One of My Favorite Fishing Spots: The Upper Guadalupe River Just North of San Antonio

Fishing is for fun! Well, at least recreational fishing is for fun. What could be simpler than that? I thought I’d write a brief post reminding us of this so we don’t get too caught up in debates about what is, and isn’t tenkara, and what rod, line, and fly we’re supposed to use.

Hey, I like a good debate as much as the next guy, but argue about fishing? Nope, not going to do it. I fish to relax and enjoy myself. Much of my daily work is filled with stress and inside labor. The opportunity to get outdoors, irritate the fish a little, maybe catch a few, and enjoy wading and walking . . . hey, that’s why I’m there.

I’m not in competition with anyone when I’m on the creek, my definition of fishing doesn’t have to fit theirs, and the equipment I use works for me. I once had a fellow approach me on the river and seriously accuse me of “cheating” when he saw me put a worm on my tenkara outfit. (I was trying to entice a freshwater buffalo at the time, and the artificial flies weren’t working.) I wasn’t doing it his way, so I must not be doing it right. Huh? In fishing?

In my stretch of Texas I sometimes fish with a live cricket, sometimes I use a Royal Coachman, other times I slide on a Mummy worm, and many times I use an Elk Hair Caddis or a Utah Killer Bug. Hey, when I was younger and couldn’t afford anything else, I’d use a piece of old bologna.

It’s all fun, right? I’ll let someone else worry about the labels, while I enjoy the fishing. (By the way, nothing casts a live cricket better than a soft tenkara rod.)

So, if you feel yourself getting twisted around the axle in an internet argument about the “right kind of fishing” or what is or isn’t tenkara, just remember that recreational angling is for fun. As long as you’re doing it lawfully, enjoying yourself, and respecting the outdoors, don’t feel like you have to explain yourself to anyone. Also, don’t feel that you have to put a particular label on the kind of fishing you do. Aren’t you grateful that we have companies such as TenkaraBum that offer excellent equipment and that we live in a time and place where we can still choose?

Comments for Fishing is For Fun!

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Nov 19, 2017
Well put!
by: Martin

I concur full heartedly! Fish while you can and make the most fun while doing it. Some day you may not have the opportunity again. Life is too short to worry about trivial stuff. Thanks for your post!

Nov 19, 2017
privileged or maybe spoiled!
by: Les Albjerg

John - Your article was a blessing. I have had a number of my friends at work scoff at me when I tell them I am fishing the public ponds. I have learned to smile. I drove by the Rotary Pond for five years to get to the bow range and never wet a line, so I am familiar with the attitude.

In the past year, I have learned to re-create when I am fishing. As you said, a nice walk, being in nature, and hopefully enticing a fish is what it is all about. The public ponds around me afford the opportunity to be fishing in less than 5 minutes when I get out of the car. I don't have to gear up with waders or a float tube. I can enjoy a 45 minute to 90 minute fishing session. I used to think you needed at least 4 hours to go fishing.

I have learned to admire all species of fish and all sizes as well. I am not sure what amazed me more this year, all the steelhead fisherman up in the remote part of the Salmon River in April, or the solitude of fishing the lower Boise River this summer for carp and smallmouth bass and never seeing anyone.

As an American we are so privileged to have an abundance of fishing so close to us and inexpensive. Last winter I watched hours of Japanese YouTube to learn Keiryu Fishing. On several of those videos I could see what they had to pay for a day pass to fish. I ran the Yen through an exchange program and it was anywhere from $18.00 to $30.00 a day. I watched a Tenkara video from Japan where the rules said you were done after 10 catch and releases. I have friends in England that pay so they can fish a "Peg.", no moving around the pond for them! Contrast that with our opportunities here. My in-laws are buying me an Oregon out of state license for my birthday for next year. It is less than a $100.00. John (the author of this thread) enlightened me to the great opportunity to fish the State Parks in Texas for the Park entry fee. I had a ball fishing two of Parks during my time off at the conference I attended in Texas.

I have also been privileged that none of my fishing buddies have scoffed or criticized my new found adventure - fixed line fishing. Josh has even tried it with a couple of my rods. His comment to me was, "My wife wouldn't understand since I have invested almost $2,000 in fly fishing equipment." I taught Josh how to tie flies. The guy I fish with the most, Geoff, thinks it is really cool. Anyone who has talked to me so far has been curious, not critical. That is why I asked Chris to send me some business cards.

So thank you John for the reminder. I lived it yesterday. I had a wonderful morning of fishing two ponds with several rods and spoons. It was a beautiful late fall day with sunshine and no wind. The fish were even cooperating. I was on-call at the hospital as the Organ and Tissue requester. After a morning of getting recharged on the two ponds, enjoying some time with my Brittney, Frankie, I was feeling great. The afternoon found me in the hospital, working with a family's tragedy. This part of my job adds insult to injury as I ask them to consider donating their loved one's organs. Re-create-onal fishing is one part of helping me recharge and keep my sanity.

Great reminder - Have fun - Enjoy - Relax - Recharge

Nov 19, 2017
Different strokes for different folks
by: Hoppy D

Back in the days, the baloney was finger food for us, and the "DuPont Drifters" were for the fish. No criticisms, no critiques..... Well, not until you let a "drifter" slip out of your fingers on the "backcast....." Plenty of criticism then, by gum!

Nov 19, 2017
Loaner Gear Provided
by: John Evans

Thanks for the note and encouragement. Yes, Texas Parks & Wildlife has an arrangement right now that you don't even need a fishing license to fish within the confines of a state park. The entry fee is all you need. And, to make it even better, many of the parks even loan out fishing gear free of charge. How cool is that? Of course, usually it's just inexpensive spin cast gear, but think what that would mean for a person who thinks they might like to try fishing. They get a day pass, no additional license is required, plus the ranger hands them some free fishing gear to use. Quite a deal!

Nov 19, 2017
Bragging on Texas
by: Les Albjerg

As an "outsider." The Texas Parks folks at Lockhart State Park and McKinney Falls State Park were friendly and excited that I wanted to fish their Parks. They pulled out a map and pencil and circled several recommended places to fish. I caught fish in all the spots I tried that they recommended. What more could a stranger ask for? I should say, guest! I didn't feel like a stranger!

Lockhart offered me free gear. I was able to show two of the Rangers my Diawa Rod. Their comment was, that should make for some fun fishing? Again curious rather than being a critic. It was fun!

Nov 20, 2017
This is what I miss
by: BKCooper

I think one of the big things that has drawn me to tenkara is that lack of discrimination among the practitioners.That and the simplicity of course. I grew up fishing for food. me and my dad loved to fish but it wasn't for nothing. we kept what we caught to make a meal. Maybe we didn't rely on it exactly but hopefully you get the point. Now I mainly fish for sport but that memory is never far away every time I make a cast. Admittedly I have become a bit of a fly snob but that is by choice. I have been thinking more and more about using worms and such as if coming full circle on my own terms as it were. Your article spoke to that contempt I've always felt towards those who would look down their nose at my gear or lack of skill and would begrudge me that memory of a time when It was less about the style and more about the catching. IN short,Thanks

Nov 20, 2017
No snobbery experienced yet
by: Les Albjerg

BK - Flies, Worms, and now Spoons! I am enjoying fixed line fishing with all three. I must live in a blessed part of the United States. (Idaho) I have not experienced the snobbery that others have talked about here and other forums. I have been asked why would I limit myself to fishing without a reel. I have a long, medium, and short answer to that question. Last winter I had 4 guys from Sun Valley watch me fish for Steelhead with the Kyogi 63. They all looked like they came out of the Orvis Catalog. Just looking at them and doing a quick inventory, I would guess each of them had close to $4,000 outfits. Two of them even came to the river via a helicopter! Three of the four saw me fight a fish right up to the point of almost landing it. I chatted with all four of them, they had a few questions about my fixed line set-up, and they thought it was really neat that I hooked and almost landed a fish. There was only admiration. The one guy that watched me the longest, really came to understand the advantages I had in the wind and being able to keep the line off the water. I was getting awesome drifts.

By the way, I do keep some planters and panfish for eating. My Dad was a meat fisherman too. I know where you are coming from. If you have never eaten Carp, you don't know what you are missing. I prepared some for my buddies Josh and Andy, they thought I was lying when I told them it was carp. Thinning that herd is rarely a bad thing, unless you disrespect them and toss them on the bank.

Nov 20, 2017
Anything legal
by: Doug

I know many of us disagree with Fish and Wildlife rules, but they are usually well thought out, and if they need changing, they change. Fish recover.

I mostly fish wild trout, C&R on a fly. Some of my friends just don't approve when I go astray and fish a place with stocked fish, and take my legal 5 fish, sometimes on nightcrawlers for the smoker. I paid for the license, I have a good time fishing, I get a nice platter of fish. My business, all good in my book!

I wish I didn't see so many discarded bait containers littering our fly-only waters though....

Nov 20, 2017
by: Mike W.

Amen brother! Fish for fun! Also, keeping a few planters or panfish is a good thing! They certainly taste good and although I'm not sure about the planters, panfish taken from a clean environment are the ultimate organic chow!!
Tight lines and no reels! Mike W. Tacoma Wa.

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