The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Outdoors

May 25, 2014

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to go fishing

The bugs are hatching and the fish are hungry

With the Memorial Day weekend and spring gobbler season coming to a close, it’s time to fish. The grass has been mowed and the garden and flower beds have been tended to, so there’s nothing to worry about other than where to fish. I love this time of year as the bugs are hatching and the fish are hungry.

Fishing for me is a time to just get away and listen to the river flow. I tend to target the trout species nowadays, but I like to catch smallmouth bass as well. I consider myself a river fisher as I like the moving water.

I grew up, like most West Virginians, fishing the many farm ponds found across the state. Most of them are full of bluegills that are always willing to bite just about anything you throw at them. Bluegills are the perfect species for kids to catch as the action is usually nonstop.

I just took my daughter Kelsey over to our pond the other evening to let her enjoy reeling in a few bluegills and hopefully passing on the relaxing pastime. She was the one who wanted to go “check on fish,” in her words, so how could I resist that? We had a good time and I really cherish these moments spent together in her youth.

That’s what’s so great about fishing. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, it’s quality time spent together with no distractions other than a splashing fish at the end of your line. I personally think everyone needs to own a fishing pole and use it more than a couple times a year.

One of my favorite fishing quotes states that, “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles,” by Doug Larson. There are other good ones from famous authors like Ernest Hemingway, and one that reads “fishing is a … discipline in the equality of men — for all men are equal before fish,” by Herbert Hoover.

Even an old Babylonian proverb states that, “the gods do not deduct from man’s allotted span the hours spent in fishing.” Of course, our forefathers would fish for food; they still understood the whole fishing experience and found solitude by the water. As no surprise, one of my favorite movies is “A River Runs Through It,” based off the semi-autobiographical novel of Norman Maclean.

I really don’t know what I would do with my free time if I didn’t fish. I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather be doing so I’m going to continue to do what makes me happy and that’s fish as much as possible. It’s always a learning experience and time well spent, even if the fish aren’t cooperating.

Get out there as it’s the perfect time to wet a line. Whether you’re young or old, tall or short, want to fish from a boat or are handicapped, there’s a place to fish for everyone. The WVDNR has free fishing days on June 7-8 where you can fish without a license. This provides the perfect opportunity to introduce someone to the relaxing pastime.

We are blessed with many lakes and rivers all across our beautiful state, so you don’t have to travel very far. Have a safe and enjoyable long weekend and, most of all, go fishing!

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