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JesterHK's post about fishing near Cabo in the salt got me to thinking.  I've done a certain amount of saltwater fishing, from halibut in Alaska to redfish in south Texas to striped bass near Montauk to bonefish, tarpon, and permit in Florida.  And I've caught my share of fish big enough and mean enough to take 15-25 minutes to get to hand...And I can say that for me, it just doesn't do it.  For one thing, I don't particularly enjoy being out of sight of land.  Not that I'm scared, or get seasick, I just find it boring. For another thing, I get tired of the "battle" long before it's over.  It's just not too important to me to be able to subdue a big, powerful fish.  After a few minutes, I'm ready to either get the thing in or hope it gets off.

It's been said that the evolution of a fisherman is first, to catch a fish, then to catch a lot of fish, and finally to catch big fish.  But that's not my evolution.  I started out liking to catch bluegill and sunfish when I was just barely old enough to remember it, but I quickly graduated to the big fish stage; by the time I was 8 or 9 years old I was regularly catching 5 pound plus bass from Wappapello fishing with my dad, and at about the same time I also graduated to catching stream smallmouth on my own.  I sought big smallies for quite a while before catching one, but I caught a ton of 12-16 inchers before that ever happened.  

But early on, it was the setting as much or more than the fish for me.  Wappapello back in the 1960s was a paradise.  It was held a couple feet lower back then than it is now, and the lower half of the lake had a bunch of low islands, covered in willows and buttonbush.  It was an absolute zoo for birds.  Mom bought a bird identification book and I carried it in the boat, identifying scores of really cool water and shore birds.  And the shallow lake produced amazing topwater fishing through much of the summer, and I quickly fell in love with topwater lures, a love affair that has continued ever since.  And as for those stream smallmouth, they eventually became my greatest love.  But by the time I graduated from high school, I'd realized it wasn't the fish that I loved the most there, either, it was the beauty of Ozark streams.  And then there was one more thing...early on, I began to make some of my own lures, and fooling bass regularly on a lure I made myself became one of my greatest satisfactions.

I didn't start seriously fly fishing until 1996, when I got to know an avid fly fisherman who invited me to go to Montana with him.  It was the beginning of my third great angling love affair, but again, it was not the fish.  I've caught as many big trout since in Missouri as I have ever caught in Montana.  But it was the rivers, like the Yellowstone, that called to me.  I still don't enjoy fly fishing as much as I do baitcasting and using topwater lures, but I would feel sacrilegious to fish for Montana trout with anything else.

Thoreau said that "Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."  I don't entirely agree with that.  I AM after fish.  I still love the thrill of fooling a big smallmouth or trout.  But I think it's as much because I have rivers in my blood, rivers that hold bass or trout, as it is the fish themselves.  I'd rather catch a big rainbow that jumps twice and comes to my net after a 2 minute struggle, than a tarpon that takes an hour to boat.  Why?  Because that rainbow will be living in a gorgeous river, and I may be catching it on a streamer I invented myself.  I'd rather see the explosion of a nice smallmouth, or even a little one, taking my topwater lure, even if it escapes.  I've caught plenty of smallmouth but I never tire of seeing them attack.  And then there is the challenge of finding and fooling them in the winter--again, more because of the winter river setting than anything else.  If I hook a really big one, then I get all excited and the adrenalin rush begins, and I WANT to get it to hand and measure it, because it's a rather rare thing.  

There are other attractions, other things I love.  I love running rivers.  I've paddled and rowed a lot of different kinds of boats, and I never tire of it, of running fast water competently, of just feeling the response of my craft to my strokes.  I love fishing with like-minded buddies.  I love gravel bar camping, snorkeling, climbing a bluff just to see the view from atop it.  I love fishing a tiny mountain creek full of native cutthroat, so small and choked in timber that you never make an actual fly cast, you just figure out some way to get your fly onto the water before you spook the fish...and all the while you're keeping your eye out for ol' griz.

So yeah, you can have your saltwater, or your big reservoir, or even your remote Canadian fly-in lakes.  They don't do it for me.  Give me a river and a casting rod or fly rod and some lures or flies I make myself, and put me in a canoe or a driftboat.  Give me some wild trout or smallmouth, or even some nice river largemouth--or NATIVE spotted bass, with maybe a native river walleye possibility.  Let me catch a few longear sunfish or one of the rock bass species for variety and just because of their beauty.  I'll happily do it all alone, or with my wife, or with a good fishing buddy.  And I'll remain just as deeply in love with the whole experience as I was when I was a teenager.

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My wife and I fly fish quite a bit and love to travel to pursue our hobby. This past weekend was probably one of our most enjoyable trips ever. It wasn't a trip to a remote stream, but a couple hours

What trips my trigger, many things really,  but I simply want to always be fishing...  Fishing is my escape from reality,  it truly centers me and is such a euphoric high that every time I step o

JesterHK's post about fishing near Cabo in the salt got me to thinking.  I've done a certain amount of saltwater fishing, from halibut in Alaska to redfish in south Texas to striped bass near Montauk

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Great read. And I agree. I’ve only salt water fished a couple of times and while I enjoyed it, I much prefer freshwater fishing. My former pb smallmouth came on a soft plastic I poured and while I am a novice at lure making, when I do catch a fish on something I created, there is indeed great satisfaction. 

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I enjoy the company of the people I go fishing/ hunting with, folk I meet, and the scenery more than the activity mostly. Traveling  to fish/hunt out of state, or out of country is a real treat. Enjoy it if you can do it. Your days are short, fill your bucket list! Make it shorter Al, and dump the Thoreau reference. Nobody is gonna get that old fag.  Thanks for the read.

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What trips my trigger, many things really,  but I simply want to always be fishing... 

Fishing is my escape from reality,  it truly centers me and is such a euphoric high that every time I step out of that water I yearn to get back.  The long drives blasting down 44 in the middle of the night,  alone in my thoughts,  feeling my heart race as I hit the strip on my way to Taney... God help me if I ever lose that feeling.  That spark and anticipation, the waiting till morning to see my buddies.  The sharing of showing how the darkness can be so calm and rewarding.  The friendships made on the water.   Filling up my life's memory books with time spent with family and friends. 

I live a blessed life and I'm grateful that I get to fish as often as I do, but it never seems enough. 

My life is racing by with no brakes, and I hope to never look back and regret not fishing more... 

I am simply living to fish right now. Wife, kids, work, are all more important, well maybe not the work, but it's a means to an end.

The other half is the actual fish.  I've fished since I was 4 or so.  Years went by where I never touched a rod and it saddens me to this day,  but there's fish all throughout my life that also are painted into my memory. 

I love them big and small,  I probably chase sea monsters more than most,  but it's not for the glory, it's for the satisfaction of seeing through the mission of going out and chasing those truly magnificent beasts.

I love the fight,  I love the panic and chaos of the dark night and not knowing what's on your line.  I live for the crushing hits that rip your hand off the reel. I live for that moment you finally see them and bring them to hand.  

Salt has its own uniqueness but really it's about the same things.   The memories, the people,  the camaraderie, the story's to tell...

The ocean is so big and vast, it almost feels like the darkness and it swallows me up,  wraps me up in it where even out there with my boys I can go to my special place. 

It's like I said earlier just a natural drug for me. Guess I'm just ate up with it,  but then most I get to meet on here seem to understand it.  We're all fishermen,  and we all live and love to fish. 

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I like to fish. Everywhere I can. Anyway I can. I want to catch every fish that swims. At least once. Red Fish,  Blue Fish, Green Fish, All Fish. 
I already regret that I didn’t fish more. I suspect that will get worse as my years advance. 
Let’s Keep Fishing Guys!

Every Saint has a past, every Sinner has a future. On twitter @Ham66

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I just like to go fishing.  I like rivers more than still water but if I travel I always try to go fishing for whatever is available.  Salt or fresh.  My wife and kids even say the best part of our vacations is fishing.  It’s an adventure going somewhere new.   I love that.  

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My wife and I fly fish quite a bit and love to travel to pursue our hobby. This past weekend was probably one of our most enjoyable trips ever. It wasn't a trip to a remote stream, but a couple hours of fishing Roaring River with our 4 youngest  grandkids. They range in ages from 3-7 with 3 boys and a girl in the mix. We bought them all youth tags and found an area in the C&R that allowed us enough room to enjoy "fishing" without hopefully spoiling the day for anyone else. We had fish on consistently and would hand the fly rods to the grandkids to fight. The youngest grandson, Oliver, just turned 3 but is strong enough to hold the rod and reel the fish in. He had found a play net at the cabin we had rented and netted 3-4 fish too!  I believe  Susie and I enjoyed that fishing trip more than any we've ever been on. 

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I grew up wading and fishing rivers.  Still waters have been my surroundings for most of the past 20 years, so I learned to like that too.  Being near any water soothes the soul.  Some places are more aesthetically pleasing than others, certainly.

Its always been about the fish, though.  Whether its a carp, catfish, gar, trout or longear sunfish....they are specially adapted for their surroundings and are all beautiful to me.  Catching them allows a brief and rewarding interaction, and it rarely ends in the death of the fish.  I never intended to get into flyfishing or fly tying...but it became a necessary means to an end, and then I found I enjoyed it so much I didn't want to use anything else.

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