As we officially entered summer last week, I thought it only fitting to write about one of my favorite summer sports, fishing.
Of course, the debate might ensue as to the merit of fishing as a sport. But, there is a Collegiate Championship for fishing and let’s not forget the numerous tournaments you can find on a variety of obscure sports network offerings during late night television. It might not be prime time, but I’m putting it in the sports category, although I once again risk running afoul of the animal rights folks. So be it.
Several sports jockey for status as America’s pastime. While baseball owns the distinction, fishing has to be a close second. Nearly everyone has a great story about it, a fond family memory or family tradition when it comes to putting one’s line in the water. I can’t think of a finer tradition that is passed down through generations than those that are done so on the lakes, oceans and streams of America.
I’ve had the pleasure of catching fish in every state in the West and a few ocean waters too. While those memories were great, nothing is better than being allowed to pass those experiences and the same knowledge I received from family and countless friends on to my own son. We’ve already started that process, albeit in the very early stages.
What makes fishing unique as a sport is there's no wrong way to do it. There are some off-the-wall ways and a few crazy ways, but in the end the objective remains the same: catch fish and make memories. Very few sports allow that sort of fluidity. Try to play golf differently than the norm and that sport will have your head. Fishing welcomes the unorthodox and comical.
It creates lasting memories not duplicated elsewhere. I once stood motionless mere feet from a bear before an angry fisherman chased it away by throwing rocks at it. Apparently the two had crossed paths the day before with the bear making off with his prized fish stringer. Only on the lake, right?
I worked myself to the point of exhaustion hauling in a King Salmon off the coast of Washington. Nothing knows the struggle to survive more than a King at the business end of a fishing hook. I appreciated the battle but in the end prevailed, and enjoyed a great meal on its behalf.
I enjoy the sport so much there is only one other high school team’s hat I will wear other than my beloved Tehachapi Warriors. Ilwaco High School in Ilwaco, Wash., “Home of the Fishermen.”
I’m a firm believer in the “teach a man to fish” concept, but besides helping to feed him for a lifetime as the old adage says, I realize its importance in building kinship and heritage. It’s generational. It’s the sport that keeps on giving for decades to come.
I write this after another successful day on the lake in the Eastern Sierras. Of course any day on the lake is essentially a success. Summer is short and the fish only bite for so long, but the memories created during that bite last a lifetime.
Corey Costelloe has covered the NCAA, professional and local sports for more than 20 years as a reporter and broadcaster. A THS graduate, he now resides and works in Tehachapi. He can be reached at email@example.com. The opinions expressed are his own.