Look at most fishing blogs, web sites, catalogues, and magazines. A big part of fishing is the trophy shot — the picture of the victorious you with your quarry held up for the camera. There is something visceral in that act that lights up our lizard brain. After we are proud of oursleves because we release our quarry to fight another day. We hope.
In fact, we don’t know for sure. Did we disturb the delicate protective fish slime coat while handling it? Are there infectious microbes in the water that could infect and kill an injured fish? Did the hook set clean and was it easy to remove? Or did we have to use pliers and twist and tug a little bit to get the hook out of the jaw cartilage? Was there blood? If so, again hope that there are no bad bacteria in the water. Was the fish foul-hooked in a life threatening way?
Is all that worth a trophy photo?
It is something to think about. Instead we should focus on the bigger rewards that we get from fishing. How the sun dappled through the tree canopy painting the stream bed. The refreshing smell of the lake that day. The sounds of the breeze in the trees and the gurgle and rush of the water. Remember how the sun felt when it warmed your shoulders during a snack break? Were you grateful for how lucky you are to have developed an appreciation of nature? There are many joyful moments a day or hour of KindFishing brings.
If we can turn our attention to the other things that make fishing so awesome, we will need less trophy shots. If we need less trophy shots we’ll need less battles with fish. If we need less battles with fish, we can appreciate the initial tug and run a little bit more. We will realize that by giving up the battle and catch and release, we get to cast more. And if we get to cast more, we get more tug and runs. It could become a virtuous cycle of Kindness.
Fish more. Do no harm.