Full Circle

This is a post about my journey in fishing.  I know some may disagree, and I know there may be people that don't complete the full circle, or skipped a step, but this is my circle, and I've gone all the way around.

I truly believe each and every angler has a journey they follow, a path that they walk.  I believe that path is a circle, and where they go on that path is ultimately up to them.  Almost all anglers start at the same place, but many get derailed and sent off course for one reason or another.


That starting point, the point were you become an angler, is being around others that are fishing.  Observing what is going on.  As a young kid that would watch my dad (who doesn't really fish all too often) fish.  He was just fishing for something to do, usually with some sort of bait (live or dead), and I would hang out and watch him.

That's little me sitting there in a diaper.

Once you have gone full circle, the observation stage might be different. Maybe you do watch someone else fish, or maybe you watch the birds, or the deer drinking water.  Maybe you watch the fish swimming instead of trying to catch them. Maybe you water the water flowing or maybe you watch nothing and instead you just feel.

Worm Stage

After the observation stage, an early stage angler migrates into the sunfish/panfish worm stage.  This is the stage where they get really get hooked on fishing.  Sunfish/panfish (whatever you want to call them) are like a gateway drug.  They are easy to catch, in almost all bodies of water, and provide entertainment for those with shorter attention spans.

Young me with what looks like a bluegill.

Once you have completed a full circle, this worm stage might be you taking a younger generation out to catch fish with worms.  Maybe, if you don't have someone else to bring along, you bring yourself back to worm stage and just enjoy catching these sunfish again.  Or maybe this worm stage only means you've stopped judging how others are fishing and you begin to realize everyone is on their own journey.

Getting my kids hooked on fishing

New Challenge

The progression past the Worm Stage is the New Challenge stage.  In reality, this is part of an inner "repeating cycle" that could go on for a while.  The first go-round in the New Challenge stage is usually artificial lures.  You might start throwing a beetle-spin or a rooster-tail to catch those panfish and the occasional bigger fish (for me it was bass, for you it could have been anything).  And it is those occasional bigger fish that can progress you to the next challenge.

Big Bass from a Kayak

You can be easily caught in the new challenge phase.  The inner loop, the second, third, and fourth, or more times around might be catching big fish, fishing new waters, or numbers of fish (in any order.)  But, each time around is a new challenge that puts you back into the loop.  I went through the following "new challenges."
  • Artificial
  • Numbers
  • Big Fish
  • Competitive/Tournament Fishing
  • Kayak
  • Fly Fishing
Once you have completed your full circle, this phase might be a give back phase.  Somewhere/somehow, you give back to this circle of fishing.  Maybe that is continuing to teach the next generation something new, or maybe you give back and protect the environment you have grown to love.


The last phase before you come full circle and repeat the journey in a new way, is a Re-Set.  This might feel like a New Challenge at first, but you will later realize it is not when you realize that it is no longer about solely about catching fish. Sure, you are out fishing, but that isn't the goal anymore.  You will know the feeling when you feel it.  You will get to the point where you don't really care so much about catching the fish, just enjoying the beauty, you will find yourself just watching (yep...you have hit the observation phase again.)

This Re-Set is what brings you full circle.  You really begin to enjoy the small things again. This is when you really start to care.

Peace Out-side, y'all.