At entry level, it’s easy and affordable to get into in both fresh and saltwater fishing.
A cheap spin rod and a handful of lures for fresh or an entry-level beach rod or rock rod for the coast and you’re away and for a huge number of people that’s good enough.
But there’s another band of fishos that progress up the fishing ladder into all manner of methods and throughout the world there is a billion dollar industry to support the personal human development in fishing.
There are three main types of fisho worldwide - the commercial fishermen, the subsistence fishermen who must fish to keep the family, village or community alive and then there is the sports fisho.
All of us like to present a catch when we get home to those we live with for a good feed and have our egos massaged a bit when told how clever we are.
Teamwork is all part of the joy of fishing.
Part of the attraction
For boat fishos the boat itself may be part of the attraction. There is something about speeding along heading for spot x listening to the motor purring behind you and the noise the spray makes as it rolls off the bow and back into the sea in front of you.
Is it the company we keep on these trips and the good-natured ribbing that occurs between mates on all fishing excursions? Or is it the wonderful solitude when fishing alone doing things just how you want to without interference?
Scenery must play a big part too, especially for the land-based fisho although boaties do get to see some wonderful islands and diverse coastline.Many land-based anglers choose to seek out some of the most remote, beautiful beaches and rocky shoreline imaginable that are seldom seen by the public but treasured by fishermen.
The same goes for the freshwater fisho who takes to lakes and rivers. The bush walks into some of these places are just as outstanding as the destination itself. Each different spot holds its own special charms with each angler having a favourite for their own reasons.
The game guys
The people who take on game fishing are drawn to it for the chance to take on some of the biggest pelagic fish the oceans have to offer and the enormous challenges that particular branch of the sport presents.
The teamwork between angler and crew to get it right is one of the most important parts to this particular kind of fishing and is a challenge that many fishos relish.
Game fishing, like a lot of sport, gives anglers an opportunity to travel to many exotic locations and tropical fish-rich spots around the world.
There’s the chance to catch different species that wouldn’t be seen in home waters and to enjoy the experience of overseas travel, as well as the different cultures other countries present.
Game fishing gives anglers the chance to battle ocean monsters.
Glamour of game
Another draw card for game fishing is the glamour of fishing from beautiful launches, making the day’s fishing very comfortable. It doesn’t always have to be like that though. Indeed, a huge number of game fish are caught from small boats each year. A big launch is nice but most definitely not essential. A trip away on a boat, big or small, is always looked forward to after a week’s work.
Doing it for the weekend
The promise of a weekend away fishing with mates or maybe just your partner, or perhaps another couple, is a pleasurable thing to look forward to.
We all need trips like this every now and then to have some fun and make us feel better about ourselves.
You get that feel good factor and also some memories. Perhaps it’s just one single great day, catching a good feed of fish, diving for a few crays and scallops and gathering some mussels at low tide.
Someone may have caught a sizeable snapper or kingfish at sometime through the day and then it’s off home for the BBQ and a few cold beers, reliving the day over and over and rubbing it into mates who couldn’t come and encouraging them to make a more determined effort to bring their boat out next time.
Days like this don’t happen every time but we fishos tend to bury the bad days in the back of our mind and it’s remembering the good days that drives us on with great expectations.
There’s always just enough anticipation thrown in to get the adrenalin pumping. Will we do well on this trip?It’s the unknown factor that keeps bringing us back to try once more as for the human being, the desire to succeed is a very strong emotion.
Ethan Martin caught and released this 85cm snapper near Tiritiri Island.
Egos have landed
We all have egos - some big, some small - but just occasionally it does us all good to have our egos stroked by doing well at our chosen sport. Tackle and toys must have a fair bit to do with the draw of fishing. Most boys love their toys and a growing number of girls do these days too.
The range of rods, reels and terminal tackle available today is extensive to say the least and the bulk of this gear goes from good to outstanding so fishing with it is extremely pleasurable.
Watching those long rods curve into an arch as they load up on to a good fish then listening to the reel humming as your adversary takes off on a strong run puts a smile on most anglers’ faces.
This is sometimes followed by a hoop and a holler or two as the fight heats up and all of a sudden the small fortune spent on this rod and reel seems completely justified because we’re happy and that’s what we came here for, to be happy.
Catching fish makes us happy. Catching fish with beautiful gear makes us even happier because we have worked or saved hard to get it so when it operates just as it should when nailing a big fish, all’s well in the world and right at that moment fishing is the greatest sport there is.
At one with water
The last element in our love of fishing is the water itself. New Zealanders have a oneness with water, whether it be river, lake or sea. No matter where we live in this country, we are never far from one of these, and as a people, we seem to be very comfortable with the great part water plays in our recreational lives.
There is something very special about being on water, whether on a lilo, surfboard, runabout, launch or yacht just floating about on a calm day will remove stress and tension from your being and leave you as calm as the water you’re floating on.
For the fight
Catching fish is one of the reasons we go fishing but there is a little more to it than that. The actual art of hooking and feeling it fight is a huge thrill. The power of a big fish takes a lot of skill to overcome and finally subdue and the combat is something we look forward to. Even small fish taken on light gear will give a good tussle so the kids can get the bug and carry it through to old age. If you can stand, you can fish.
For the fish
Fish come in such a wide range of colours, shapes, sizes and, of course, tastes. Each different species caught and put in the chillybin adds variety to the table and the way we cook them.
We know that they are good to eat and good for our health and, as there are dozens of cookbooks dedicated to fish, we should never get bored of eating these tasty critters.
For this writer, fishing is all about the pleasure it brings from all its elements. Fishing makes me happy and, in today’s world, happiness can sometimes be a bit hard to track down.
If you’re not a fishing person and you’re feeling a bit down, try spending a day on the water. It will leave you smiling, and buzzing hopefully with some great memories. Then just wait until you taste the fresh fish you caught - you’ll be hooked on fishing for life, just like the rest of us.