Fishing Is For More Than The Food

“Gone fishin’, instead of just a-wishin’.”

That’s what the original television fisherman, Harold Ensley, The Sportsman’s Friend, used to say on his Saturday evening program. We were excited when Mr. Ensley spoke  during a conservation meeting many years ago, and we can recall some of his fish stories.

Fishing season is here. We know people who would like to fish every day of the year, and some even do. We’ve never done it, but one has to have some sort of admiration for those who ice fish when the temperatures are zero and below. Seems the few who like that direction for the sport are about as dedicated as any we know for any type
of recreation

We’ll never forget three decades ago, when a fellow drove his Volkswagen out to the middle of our lake for just that reason. He had the stamina, or whatever, to fish on the ice, but not the ambition to walk out to location. Ice fishermen often have portable
huts they take right out on the lake, and spend hours all alone with their hook, line and sinker.

We’ve always been a fisherman at heart, even though we’ve seldom gone in the past four decades. As a youth, before we got a horse, our life seemed to revolve around fishing and hunting. That’s nearly all we thought about and was constantly begging to be on the shore. Fortunately, Uncle Don had the same fever and frequently let us tag

One memorable childhood experience was a fishing vacation in Minnesotawith Don and Dad. We went to a big timber lake, rented a cabin and a boat, and spent three days on the water with some success. We also went on a Colorado vacation with Aunt Freda, Uncle Ted and Cousin Brad and recall the thrill of catching little brook trout.

As a youth, we worked during the summer at our family grocery, but had Wednesday afternoons off, so we often went fishing with our cowboy buddy, Dennis Good. That was before the catch-and-release philosophy, and we usually caught a few small ones
that we’d eat. But, fish was never our favorite food, which doesn’t make Fridays a banquet for us.

Fishermen always have a story to tell, and our best one is when our county agent friend Larry Riat took us to Milford Reservoir. We caught white bass as fast as we’d drop the line off the boat. There were nearly 50 in the giant bucket when we stopped, and they really did taste good out of the skillet.

The apostles were fishermen called by Jesus to preach the Word. He used fish in many of his parables, so each of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, has a number of Jesus’ references to fish in His teaching.

One of our favorites is Matthew 15:36: “He took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” Of course, His objective is revealed in Matthew 4:19: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”