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A Fishing Life

A Fishing Life

Given enough time and distance, you begin to see more clearly those events that shaped your fishing life. They appear to me now as 60-year-old memories that evoke the same feelings as on the days the actual episodes occurred. My recollections are wrapped as tightly as tarred marline around the wooden frame of a handline and include a dock, a lighthouse, an old skiff and various mentors — a professor, a lobsterman and a tall, lanky outdoorsman from Campbell County, Tennessee.

The emotional essence of such touchstones gives our early memories enduring and propulsive power. They enable us to look back and connect the many dots that steered us toward a lifetime devotion to chasing fish. My earliest ones stretch so far back that it often feels as if I was “born” to be a fisherman. Silly perhaps, but I’m certain some of you feel the same way.

In a college class, I studied the existentialist philosophers — Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, Buber and others. A quote by Camus sent me down this contemplative path: “A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.” For me, it was the fishy happenings…

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