A Picture Worth A Thousand Words: The Art of Catch and Release
Fishing has long been a tradition passed down through generations. From great-grandparents who manufactured tools and tackle out of the most basic materials all the way down to my generation’s tech-savvy methods of fishing, we all share something in common. The tug on the end of the line, the organized chaos and landing the fish are all part of the thrill that fishing entails.
As an angler growing up in this day of age, I’ve come to realize how much of an impact conservation makes on the livelihood of the sport. When I was young, learning to let a fish go to swim another day was difficult, especially after spending so much time trying to catch it. It wasn’t until later when I understood the importance of catch and release and how it impacts the future of an ecosystem.
Conservation has been a popular topic in recent times, with the Florida sugar companies being in the spotlight. Everyone has seen pictures of the widespread fish kills that devastated Florida’s Gulf Coast. With so many people dependent upon that fishery, catch and release along with other methods of conservation are a necessity for restoring what was once a fishing landmark.
Most seasoned fisherman agree that success isn’t completely dependent on how many fish one catches or how big they are. Success lies in the challenges that accompanied the fish and how the angler overcame them. The tremendous stories that arise from these outings are a true testament to the will and perseverance it takes. The ultimate display of appreciation comes in the form of releasing the fish back into its habitat.
While I love fish tacos as much as the next person, I find it more fulfilling to watch a fish swim away, hopefully to be caught by someone else one day. The technology nowadays enables us to easily capture parts of the adventure. Looking through my camera roll, I not only see pictures of the fish I’ve caught, but also hundreds of stories of how I caught them.
Envisioning a future that includes fishing comes with the responsibility of speaking up for the speechless: our waterways and its tenants. Educating people about the value of catch and release makes it possible for there to be a future in fishing. Your short-term sacrifices now will one day light up the face of a young angler yet to know what their new favorite hobby has in store.
By Cory Gurman
Cory Gurman is a sophomore at Ponte Vedra High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Besides reveling in the great outdoors, Cory enjoys spending time with his three golden retrievers and rooting for the Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Instagram @fishhunter1119.