8 Things Fishing has Taught Me to Make Me a Better Person

By   March 31, 2013

I have been fishing all of my life, so it is kind of hard to think who I would be without fishing. The person I am today has been largely shaped by the principles I have learned from fishing. My home life, work life and social life all have been positively affected by these things fishing has taught me.

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#1-Getting Up Early

As a kid I hated getting up early, but I liked catching fish. As an adult, I hate getting up early, but I like keeping my job. Fishing has taught me that if you need to get up early you are capable of it. You have to plan the night before and you can’t waste time watching TV or reading. You need to sleep, because what you have to wakeup for is more important than wasting time.

#2-Hard Work

While fishing is relaxing, there is a lot of hard work involved. It can be taxing both physically and mentally. I found out that if I was not willing to put in hard work, I would not get the desired result of catching fish.

Often there is much more involved with fishing than casting out your line and reeling in; boats need to be launched, tarps removed, tanks filled and equipment loaded. That is just the start. Everything has to be put back how it was when you are done fishing and hopefully fish have to be cleaned. But you learn that these are all things that have to be done no matter how early it is, how late it is or how tired you are.


Surprisingly enough, it is not a fish’s goal to get caught. This can lead to hours of casting and no strikes, but when that one bass decides it wants an adventure; every cast, every weed, every backlash becomes worth it. It took patience to get that one bite. It would have been very easy to give up on fishing for the day if it was slow going, but that isn’t how you catch fish.

#4-Respect Your Elders

We have all had those weeks where it seems like nothing will bite and you know it isn’t just you because everyone else it complaining about it. That is everyone except for that one old guy who seems to not be having any issues. When I was about 7 years old, I was at the lake fishing with my grandparents and I would have sworn all the fish had left the lake. There was only one person catching fish, an old man named Gabby. Gabby had a little boat and a scraggily dog. He also had a shake from Parkinson’s so bad, I couldn’t figure out how he could bait a hook. Well, he saw that other people weren’t catching as well as he was, so he let a group of us in on his secret. Since the water was so warm the fish were going to a few of the artesian wells to stay cool. He was always willing to answer questions and share his knowledge. Outwardly, he was a frail old man in a failing body, but he brought so much life to our community.

#5-Importance of Family

My grandparents and my dad are the ones who taught me to fish. They took the time to teach me a skill that has a huge impact on my life. In the process, they taught me many of the skills that their parents and grandparents taught them. Every generation builds on the knowledge from previous ones, but what if they didn’t feel the need to pass this down to me and what if I decided not to listen. Pieces of our family, our heritage, our history would have been lost. This has taught me to pay attention to their stories, instructions and advice, and appreciate the importance of what they are sharing with me.

#6-Importance of Nature

I am so amazed at how all aspects of nature work together so I am able fish. I was taught at an early age that there are things that we can do to positively and negatively effect our environment. If we negatively effect our environment, it will have an impact on all of the lives that we depend on to fish and the areas we enjoy.


At about age five, I remember learning my first bit of fishing etiquette, “Don’t throw your bobber right next to someone else’s.” From there I learned many other things to not annoy other fisherman, but it all boils down to respect. To coexist on a lake you must respect all of the people that are also using the lake. You must also respect everything that is living in and around the lake.

#8-Be Prepared

There are some things that are a must to prepare for when fishing. Did you go to the bathroom? Did you put on sun block? Are you dressed in layers? Did you grab the spare reel? When fishing in a boat, particularly with others, you have to make sure you are prepared. If you aren’t prepared, five hours in a boat can be a miserable time.

Let me know how fishing has helped make you who you are. I know that there are some of these lessons I would have learned elsewhere eventually, but fishing anchored these values and life lessons in at the root.

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