Milo was spinning the yarn with some fellow the other day. They got talking about fishing, and more specifically ‘surfacasting’, or fishing from the shore.
Among other things, he told Milo the reason he likes sea fishing so much is the simple fact that he gets to sit in his camping chair, sip on a beer, and hope. Yeah, sitting back on the beach drinking a beer is never a bad thing (unless you’re a recovering alcoholic that struggles swimming), but living for hours with an excited sense of hope! Now that’s profound.
So I sit here now, knowing very well that the sea is far too choppy to fish, but I sit here anyway. With hopeful anticipation.
Fishing isn’t really about catching fish anyway. Let’s be honest.
Fishing is a headspace. I’m not saying it doesn’t get the blood pumping when you hook a fish, I’m saying that it’s not necessarily a bad day when you return home catchless.
There are so many things to learn. Practical things like tying knots, setting up your rig, where to fish, what the weather does and how this will effect your fishing. Did you know that the setting of the sun and the corresponding drop in temperature on land changes the winds? You will often see the wind drop right down in the evenings, and the sea flatten peacefully.
Tides, the time of day, seasons and moon phases all affect fish activity. The Maori fishing calender recommends fishing on the incoming tide when the moon is waning, and on the outgoing tide when as the moon is waxing.
I’m now fishing in the bright mid-afternoon sunshine, on the incoming tide, as the moon is waxing. About the only thing I’ve got in my favour is that bit of squid on the end of my hook – pretty fucking essential to the fish catching experience.
But again this tingles my thoughts about fishing and other existential journeys. Knowledge. I’ve never been fishing with Maori’s. If I had seen first hand that they caught the beast of Atlantis on an outgoing tide on a waxing moon, I’d be more inclined to rubber stamp that knowledge. But I haven’t. So I’ll happily hit the seas and make all my own mistakes. There’s nothing like opening all the wrong doors before confirming the right one.
Mid-way through this mini epiphany, I notice the line begin to move from side to side. Have I caught my first fish surfcasting the shoreline? I’ve only bloody gone and hooked my first shark!
Unfortunately for the parents of this we bab, I opted to knock him on the head and eat him. When packing up my gear for the evening I knew I should have returned the young school shark back to the ocean. How will there ever be awesome sized fish to catch and enjoy if we take all the babies! I had made a mistake. Through that mistake I have discovered a truth by which my fishing will live hence forth.