Why We Do It...

Why We Do It…

by Mike Dragone

I am often asked why I like fishing. I suppose we all have our reasons. Some people are in it for the glory of landing a new personal best, for others it may be the comradery of fishing with friends, more the social aspect. And in some cases of course – for food! I fish for multiple species for multiple reasons, but if I had to nail it down, for me it is really about the overall outdoor experience no matter what you are fishing for.

When I was growing up I spent much more time outside than in, whether it was hiking, foraging, hunting, or fishing. But fishing was always my favorite pastime that carried me through my years, and still it has a powerful attraction for me to this day. My zodiac sign is Pisces – that might explain it…!

I believe it is the un-rushed aspect of fishing for carp that I enjoy the most. As there often is a lot of “down time” when session fishing (unless of course you are hauling…!), it gives one a lot of time to what I call “unwind the mind”. Most of us don’t realize how much the stresses and tribulations of our day to day lives have a negative effect on our conscious well-being. To combat this, some people meditate; others practice yoga, or even seek therapy. In my case I go fishing. It is my personal mental medication.

In fact there have been times in my life where I can say fishing kept me in a better place when I needed to be in one. It is the only thing that allows me to totally disconnect form my everyday world. There is not much that is more enjoyable than an uncluttered mind. I have learned not only to enjoy the act of fishing itself, but to appreciate the many other aspects of the outing. Observing the diverse wildlife, the changing weather patterns, and admiring every sunrise & sunset are part of the total experience. Maybe it’s the fact that I am getting older that makes me appreciate these things even more these days…

It’s kind of a Zen thing perhaps. Whether fishing for carp on a remote reservoir, or fly fishing for trout, I get to a point where I drill down to the essential experience, blending in with nature, and trying to become one with my quarry. Many questions need answers, and you set off to figure them out. I have said this to numerous people in the past, but I sometimes get the feeling that I can almost sense what is going on in the water in front of me. Getting a feel for the mood of the fish, what tactics will work best, and how to achieve your ultimate goal of catching. But catching is the bonus. I have had many blank sessions that were some of my best adventures of all!

On a recent trip, I ventured into an area in central Pennsylvania for a two day session. Deep in the mountains I realized that there was no cell or satellite service. Being used to electronic navigation and media access, I was totally cut off from everything. At first it was a bit disconcerting, but it quickly faded and I soon realized that cutting the cord to civilization for a short time actually enhanced my overall experience. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it was almost like a weight was lifted for a brief time. Life moves fast, sometimes you need to slow down and smell the boilies…

Another thing I enjoy immensely is fishing at night! There is something about when the darkness closes in and the whole world changes around you. With the loss of daylight comes the heightened awareness of your surroundings. All sounds seem to be magnified, howling coyotes, owls, frogs & night insects all join in the nightly concert, and hopefully the occasional “unnatural” sound of your bite alarms peeling off!

Yes – carp fishing definitely fills all my requirements for the perfect outdoor experience. Going out and catching America’s favorite sport fish is cool. But there is more to it than that in my case, and I am sure most would agree in some sense.

Keep the camera close by, you may find you are taking a lot of pictures without fish in them. I used to carry around an old school Canon SLR for taking photographs in the field, but with today’s technology, my cell phone never stops surprising me with the quality of the pictures it takes, even in low light. In fact, all of the photos in this blog were taken with it!

Get out there and soak in the total experience!

Tight lines…Mike Dragone