For thousands of years before these times, men and women hunted, fished, and gathered. These ancestors lived this way as a matter of survival, though even paintings on cave walls show that they celebrated and surely enjoyed their encounters.
Times have changed, but not so much the basic nature of fishing. The spark to seek, to understand, and to interact with the natural world still burns within us. This is the reason so many of us fish—some to harvest fish for the table, for fish are nutritious and delicious.
We fish for sport, too, for fishing is a challenge. We puzzle over that which we can’t easily see or touch through a water barrier. We seek to connect with this puzzle, these fish, with hook and line. So we offer illusions, tricks—the right bait, the right fly, the right lure, presented in just the right way and at the right time.
Fish cannot, we soon find, be bought or bribed. They do not care who we are. They respond best to patience and, finally and primarily, to understanding. For our ancestors, success meant survival. The better they understood the nature of the animals pursued, and the better they became at finding and tricking them, the more successful they were in putting food over the fire.
Today, fishing is a break, a chance to get away from it all. It’s a chance for parents and grandparents to connect with children, a chance for adults and children alike to connect with the natural world.
Fishing is a grand game, a sport, part of a lifestyle shared, not just with family and friends but also with millions of other anglers, casual and all consumed, across North America and around the world. Fishing is, heart and soul, an integral part of this larger world—perhaps the finest proof that simplicity and excitement can at once prevail.
Really, it’s just that simple. It’s just fishing for walleyes.