I met an wonderful rabbi many years ago in NJ. He was a scholar, a genius, a teacher ( no congregation), dirt poor and the sweetest person ever. When I told him that I wanted to chat with him he suggested that we go fishing together. I told him that I didn’t like fishing or going out on boats. He told me it was not about fishing. I didn’t understand. All it was for him was a way to get away, be alone, have some place to just chill out. I just didn’t understand. Then he died. Now I understand.
I know a number of men ( curiously, no women) who have or rent boats and go fishing. I never understood that for most of them it’s a way to relax. The fish, for the most part, are tossed back into the water.
Tom Fote of the Jersey Coast Angler’s Association posted the following:
I received a copy of the January 2000 American Sportfishing Newsletter. This newsletter contained interesting information about why anglers fish. The information came from the “Future of Fishing” surveys conducted in 1980, 1995 and 1999. According to ASA the results of these surveys show that in 1999 “more people who fish do so for relaxation (35%), to be with friends and family (33%), and to be close to nature (13%). Catching large trophy fish (3%), catching fresh fish for food (5%), and fishing simply for the sport of it (7%) are no longer considered motivations by most anglers.” The entire report is available at the ASA website.
It seems to me that people are searching for ways to find peace and space in their lives. It is a natural human need. Angling has long been a way for many to achieve this.
I used to walk in a local park here in Maryland. The park has a large pond. You will often see a number of men, often with their sons, I assume, just sitting on the grass, fishing. They seem very relaxed. Their equipment is very simple. They seem to be away from the rest of the world.
I suspect that many such avocations fufill a similar need.