In the past few months, I've decided to step up my game on the road to professional fishing. It seems that fishing for a living has evolved with the rest of the world in regards to technology. A seemingly simplistic sport no longer has nature at its core; rather, it has shifted into a "he who has the most toys wins" mentality. Not only do I need top-of-the-line poles, reels, and tackle, but I also need to be social media savvy with knowledge of photo and video editing programs. I need a computer that has a strong enough operating system to power all of said programs, and no longer will my trusty iPhone 4 suffice for snagging pics of my catches due to something about megapixels (or lack thereof).
I now have realized how invaluable my 20 year background in sales and marketing for the restaurant industry will prove to be. In signing with a company as field staff or becoming selected by a sponsor, I'm certain to spend multiple hours a day seamlessly displaying a brand.
It seems a bit ironic that amid all of the roles and responsibilities manuals, Google Docs, and Instagram filters, I've finally been asked by a company, "What does kayak fishing mean to you?"
Now--- I'm a self-starter, and I have no problem acquiring endless amounts of high-tech gadgets. I have zero issue implementing my experience in marketing into the fishing field. I don't mind sitting hours at a computer learning all these new programs. But... I am just now realizing how far off track these goals had taken me from the heart of my passion. I am humbled to so quickly (and with just one simple question) be reminded of why I do what I do. A seemingly simplistic question for a seemingly simplistic sport that puts everything back into perspective: what does kayak fishing mean to me?
It means balance.
That is all it means, yet balance means everything--- such an all-encompassing idea that requires careful and extensive juxtapositions.
There are genres of classic literature that rely almost solely upon the restorative powers of nature. Books flying off shelves for all eternity and studied in classrooms around the world simply because mankind desires a balance with nature. This concept is not one that I need a professor or Spark Notes to explain to me. Every fishing excursion provides an escape from the chaos of every day life, a few hours to forget about the 21st century's never ending to-do list. It is that fishing is an ideal classroom in which I can teach my kids about life: conservation and curiosity, patience and persistence. Just as it is in life, in fishing, you must learn when to keep the line tight and when to adjust the drag, when to battle a beast and when to let him tire himself out. Each new species reeled in is a reminder of the endless possibilities of exploration and discovery. This sport rewards risk-taking and demands safety. It fosters a balance between the thrill of the hunt and a respect for nature. Kayak fishing breeds spontaneity and requires thoughtful planning at the same time. It teaches that skill and luck are both pivotal. The challenge is symbolic that what comes easy is not always what's best--- the constant pursuit, a reminder that things handed to you are never as cherished as those for which you have tirelessly worked to gain. There will be days you win big countered with days you get skunked--- and either way, you are left wanting more. Regardless of trophies won from competitions and tournaments, the intrinsic rewards outweigh the tangible. Because of kayak fishing, my kids will know that the best dinner doesn't always come from a fancy restaurant or aisle 7 in the grocery store. Instead, the most fulfilling meal is the one you scooped out of the water and prepared together as a team.
It is said that mastery in any area can never truly be attained; rather, you will spend your whole life bettering yourself to reach the highest level of skill and knowledge through practice. While this is certainly the case for fishing, it holds true for self-discovery as well. I know no other sport that offers this "Great Perhaps"; I know no other sport that is so richly ingrained in balance.