Editor’s Log: Paying It Forward

September 2021 by Fred Golofaro   

There is no getting away from the news these days. It attacks you from all angles – TV, I-phone, I-pad, your laptop, radio – and sadly, it is mostly bad. The division in politics, the resurgence of Covid, the nuclear threat from countries like Iran and North Korea, the fall of Afghanistan, natural disasters, mass shootings, gang violence – the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, the news does not give us much to smile about and it can be downright depressing to digest at times. Add to all of that, more personal issues, like struggling to keep pace with rising taxes, the escalating cost of homes, and the social effects of Covid, which have negatively impacted the way many people feel according to mental health professionals. You don’t need a medical degree to know that stress is a byproduct of hectic schedules and financial issues, and never has there been a greater need for calming therapy.

Enter fishing. Those of us who fish know all too well the benefits provided by a day on the water with fishing rod in hand. It is by far the best, and cheapest, therapy known to man. It goes without saying that we all go fishing to catch fish. It’s a pretty simple equation that if there were no fish to catch there would be no incentive to invest time, money and effort into the fishing game. However, fishing is much more than just going out to catch fish. There are many other benefits to fishing that we can, and should be sharing with others.

Introducing others to fishing allows them to reap some of those same valuable benefits. Just being in an outdoor environment serves to slow the world down and provide a refreshing perspective on life.  There is no better way to define quality time spent with family and friends than to fish together. Getting away from some of life’s more mundane chores with those you love or care about, even for a few hours, is tough to put a price tag on. And for those who enjoy eating fish, there is always the chance to return home with some fresh fillets, even if that is not the trip’s primary goal. For youngsters, fishing is a great way to build self-confidence and an awareness of the natural world around them.

Probably the biggest reason to budget some time for fishing is the relief it can provide from the stress and toils of daily life in a world gone crazy with instant gratification and little down time. Over the past year or two, I have been approached by many people who want to get into fishing. Nearly all bring up the need to “get away” or they are looking for a “break” from their hectic lives. Among them are my appliance man, a contractor working on my home, my urologist, neighbors, a car salesman, a restaurateur, teachers, and the list goes on and on. Now, more than ever before I have adopted a policy of passing it forward, not just the ability to catch fish, but to share the intrinsic benefits that come with fishing.

Of course, sharing fishing knowledge is the hook to introducing fishing to others and I have made it a point to do a lot of that lately. From sharing my precious supply of FishBites with others to help them catch more fluke, to teaching others the deadly effectiveness of snap jigging in the surf, or to help outfit a youngster or newcomer with the proper tackle, I have been on a mission to pass on my knowledge to others, including veteran anglers. Once a person gets involved in fishing, they are sure to discover that fishing goes well beyond just catching fish. And, as Herbert Hoover once wrote, “there is no better way to cleanse the soul than to go fishing.”