Why Fishing Is Relaxing and Good for You and Your Health
I wouldn't call myself an avid fisherman. While I love to fish, and go often, it has not become an obsession. My one pole, one net, and one tackle box are plenty for me to be very happy. I don't own a boat (can't afford to buy one, and couldn't afford the registration even if I picked one up) or a trailer to haul it. I thought about getting a small bass boat or canoe once, but then again, couldn't justify it because I am perfectly content fishing from shore. In other words, I am completely satisfied heading to a lake with simple tools and a rock to sit on! For me, fishing is relaxing and pure pleasure.
But one day while at the lake I started to think about why it was so great to be there. If you enjoy fishing, you know how good it feels to be outside - how relaxed your body can be without medication! It was at this point that I realized that fishing is good for your health.
When you sit next to the lake and there is any breeze at all, you are breathing humidified air that is clean (usually) and you are enjoying the evaporative cooling effect. Heat from warm air penetrates the moisture in the air and it dissipates - then the temperature drops. I don't know about you, but I find myself wanting to breathe in deeply from time to time (not because of difficulty breathing!) and I think it's my body asking for more of a good thing.
As I fished in the White Mountains of Arizona, I watched the white clouds float by. The white puffs slowly morph as they pass across the blue sky. I find myself staring at them and enjoying the shapes they take up as they meander along. This particular day, there was a lot of activity up there, and it was amusing to watch a dog take shape and then a cloud looking like a bag. It was as if someone was trying to scoop up that dog.
And then there is the wind. Who hasn't experienced the relaxation while the wind passes by your ears or whistles through the trees. I don't have to tell you that people have made quite a bit of money recording such sounds to enhance a person's state of relaxation. Just google "sound of wind". You'll find that the sound of wind is associated with meditation. Of course, I am holding on to my rod the whole time, anticipating a bit of a tug from a nibble or a pull from a strike, yet it isn't like I am on the edge of my seat. You know how pleasant it is if you fish. If you don't, for a small investment you can take part in the pastime and learn about it. Your body will thank you.
I find it interesting that the sound of water is also recorded and used to promote release from anxiety. I have noticed that sitting in a busy mall one can enjoy the sound of a fountain and escape the sounds and sights of foot traffic. It's much the same at the lake. The sound of the water lapping at the shore or a fish jumping is really quite wonderful. It all contributes to muscles relaxing that have been so tight for so long you forgot what it was like to have them loose.
Then there is an aspect that is a bit harder to explain. I am not even certain if other people smell it. But when you are at the lake (surrounded by forest in this case) there is a "fresh smell" to the air. Maybe it's chlorophyll, perhaps it is moist pine needles composting. I really don't know, but I always smell it at the lake. I know that deodorizers often have a pine scent, so there is something special about it. Homeopathic types claim that these pleasantries contribute to a sense of well-being and relaxation.
With all the information available that shows that stress tears apart the body in many ways, from cancer to cardiac disease to depression, I don't think that anyone can argue that some of the best medicine you can take is at the LAKE! Packing your gear and heading out fishing is a simple technique for promoting good health.
Oh, and then I felt a tug at my pole and then some real struggling action. I came around to my focused self and started to reel in a trout. I could tell by the way it flipped and flopped as I brought it to shore. Closer yet, I could see it show off a glint of golden belly and a yellow-gold coloring on its sides. I had caught my first Apache trout!
And finally, do not minimize the effect of fishing with a partner. I for one enjoy a quiet conversation with another person while I sit on the bank (or the concrete dam at the end of the manmade lake!).
For some, simply sitting by oneself communing with nature and waiting for the bite is the ultimate in relaxation. On the other hand, folks like me may like to fish with their wives. Of course, you have to have a wife who likes to fish, I suppose. It wouldn't be very pleasant listening to carping (pun not intended) from the significant other throughout the angling day.
But many of us are fortunate enough to have a wife who has grown up with it or learned from us (she may have even taught you!). If your wife loves fishing, then you have another check on the list of relaxation factors. My wife chats occasionally as she sits and waits for a little tug on her pole - she doesn't talk a lot, but just enough to break up any monotony that might set in, especially if you haven't had a bite in awhile. We talk about everything and anything. We make suggestions as to how to bait the hook, where to cast, etc. We talk about our children, our next home project, or the next lake we want to go to. For me, my wife contributes to my degree of relaxation as much as anything. And, I can't imagine fishing without her. In all honesty, she is a better fisher person than me. She has caught far more fish in the last 13 years than I have. I am embarrassed to reveal all the things she has taught me about the sport. Your spouse could well be the ultimate source of relaxation on your next fishing trip!
Think about it.
There aren't many times when you can truly say you had a perfect day, but go fishing and you'll probably have one. Your body will love you for it.
© 2011 John R Wilsdon