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Defining the Undefinable
by Jason Donnelly

y grandfather often said, "happiness is water filled waders, a slippery rock, and a empty cooler." I often think back on those first days in the surf. We never did catch much and often times we went home completely skunked. The bad days, however, have more or less faded in memory and the banner days have taken their place. The banner days are what really started me fishing, but they are not what keeps me fishing.

Oftentimes I've really tried to understand my insatiable appetite for the surf and the fish hidden behind the waves. I tried to define fishing. At first, I believed that it was simply catching fish. The more and bigger the better. But as I advanced in age (I'm 27) I began to realize that fishing isn’t really about catching fish although it's certainly part of it.

Fishing cannot be universally defined because it’s truly so many different things to so many different people. That is what makes it special. However, I have developed my own definition of fishing and I would like to share it with you so that you may understand a little more about yourselves and perhaps about the gentleman fishing next to you.

Fishing in the end will be defined by your own set of memories. It will be the first fish you landed in the surf. Your grandfather, father or friends joyous whoop as he hooks a fish or it maybe the first time you realized that it will be the last time you fish with someone you truly love. To me it’s all of these memories and more. It’s the stars at night, so beautiful, at times you believe the shine only for you. The cool breeze on a hot fishless night chilling your skin begging you to take just one last cast. A friend’s smile when you pick them up before a hard day of fishing. The morning sunrise, warming your face and boosting your hopes for the next cast. It can be the nightlong bull sessions you had with your buddies. Or the night you went solo just so that you could contemplate a dissolving marriage or the loss of a relative or girlfriend. These are the important things, the things that keep me fishing, the things that keep me coming back for more.

I hope you understand that “fishing” isn’t all about fishing. It's really about loving, understanding and becoming in tune with yourself and those around you.

 
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