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Post Column: Fishing rewards anglers with intrinsic value

Smelling the fresh Folgers, tying on your favorite crankbait, loading up the gear and heading to the lake, headlights aglow — mornings preluding a fishing trip on the outside might look ever so shallow, but to the fisherman, there is intrinsic nature to the routine.

Standing in the boat, casting the line through the fog as dusk begins to show its illuminating smile releases all tension. Feeling the cork handle of the rod and the line passing across your thumb rids you of everything disruptive in your life; the mind of the fisherman is free.

Like almost every activity, people gravitate to different styles of fishing. Some people enjoy fishing for the camaraderie with friends and family. Others compete in tournaments across the world on amateur and professional levels, which requires talent and dedication.

Personally, I am attracted to the competitive and recreational styles of fishing. I have spent a lot of energy practicing and planning strategy for an upcoming tournament; however, any fishing I do is for the enjoyment of being outdoors and on the water.

When on the water, many things are racing though the fisherman’s head. For example: Where should I fish? How should I fish? What lure should I throw? When is the time to change tactics? And so many more.

At the end of the day, answering those questions and catching fish comes down to experience, skill, and instinct.

Even when fishing for the pleasures of the outdoors, the objective is still to catch fish. Feeling that bump, followed by tension on the line from a fighting fish is exhilarating and fulfilling.

As college students, we can all relate to the time and effort we put in to perform well in the classroom. From spending endless hours reading and studying to staying up until 4:30 in the morning writing a communication-law paper the day before it’s due, we give a lot to get good grades.

Those efforts translate well to fishing. The difference comes when answering the question, “Why?” Why fish?

We fish for the feeling of accomplishment that comes from something we love to do. One can feel accomplished by getting an A on a test, but that is something we feel obligated to do in today’s society. Yes, we all love to gain the knowledge that comes from attending college, but at the end of the day, we attend college to get a stable and lucrative career. We attend college to get a well-paying job after we graduate.

When it comes to fishing, the only accomplishment is one of intrinsic nature. We give the effort for self-satisfaction. When a big bass nails that buzzbait fluttering atop the water and your heart starts pounding, landing that fish is a self-fulfilling, exhilarating accomplishment that will have no extrinsic reward, such as a diploma.

Not knowing what will happen next is what drives us as human beings in everything we decide to do. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Occasionally in life, there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”

That, my friends, is fishing.

Ryan Dentscheff is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University, president of the OU Anglers Organization and a columnist for The Post. Send him your thoughts on fishing at rd291709@ohiou.edu. 

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