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I've lost some focus lately when it comes to fishing and hunting and I thought I'd share it with everyone here. It used to be about going out, having a good time in nature and really enjoying the process. I used to love getting up early, taking that first sip of hot coffee, getting in the rig and driving to my destination. The thoughts, the anticipation, the good conversation with my dad or buddies that I'm fishing or hunting with that day. Putting together a plan of action and enjoying a day away from work and the stresses of life. I felt closer to God out there in the woods or on the water and after the day is over I felt refreshed down in my soul. I come alive when I am fishing or hunting.

The problem is that I've gotten pretty good at fishing and hunting. I've bagged a buck every season since I was 12....until this year. I've been really successful fishing this year filling all but 2 spaces on my tag. Now when I go out I expect to do well. It hasn't been about the process or the things I loved as much as it has been about bringing something home....for my ego. I had a really tough season at Tillamook this fall going out 4 times and never touching a fish. I left each trip frustrated and wondering what I was doing wrong. The joy was gone the relaxation absent. I had turned the sports I love into something they are not supposed to be. Competitive. I had a goal to fill my tag up before steelhead season and that became my focus. Why...? Who cares if my tag is full? I have salmon in my freezer. I've lost a little respect for the species that I hunt and fish and turned them into trophies for my ego.

On the last day of hunting season I was driving out of the woods really dissapointed that my buck streak had ended. I was telling myself stuff like "You didn't hunt hard enough" and "You should have plugged that forked horn that you passed up early in the season." Then it happened; I rounded a corner and up on the hillside was a nice young forked horn standing there broadside looking at me. It was almost too dark to shoot, maybe legal to shoot, maybe not. I was all alone so I rolled down the window and afraid that he would run off I was just going to shoot from the truck. Mind you I don't need deer meat because I did fill my doe tag, I just didn't want the streak to end. As I looked through my scope I had an epiphane (sp). I thought "What am I doing. In all my years of hunting I have never shot a deer from inside the truck...this is against the law...and how good am I going to feel about pulling the trigger on this guy." I jacked the shell out of my gun, put it away and drove off. And you know what? I felt good about it!

I don't need to prove anything to myself, the guy's at work or on ifish or anywhere else. It's not about that. It's about getting back to the enjoyment I used to find in these sports.

I wanted to share that because maybe some of you guy's have been feeling some of the same kinds of things. The game that we pursue demands more respect than that and I hope that we all can step back and find some more enjoyment and less stress in our hobbies. Heaven knows there is a lot more things in our lives to be stressed about.

Good pusuits to all :cheers:
 

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Great insights! I don't eat fish, so filling my tag is pretty pointless. Sometimes the bragging is fun, but for me it is all about the fight. I love the days of 30-40 shakers sturgeon fishing, or even the days when I lose more salmon than I get to the boat, the challenge and the pursuit is what it is about for me. I also love hunting, but then there is always the letdown after the shot......my season is over, it's all about being out in the woods, or on the water with friends or even solo. I still get just as excited as I remember being as a kid.

I hope you get that back. Try two months worth of yardwork, I'm sure you will be ready to go back and find what you've been missing.

Scott
 

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You could try and go out with the intention of not catching anything..... :shrug:

MM
 

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It hits home to all of us at some point I think.

For me it used to be to see how many fish I could catch in a year.It was all about stopping at the beer joint to brag to your friends and try to one up each other. At the end of the year I would have a card full of fish and a freezer full of freezer burned fish that didn't make for good crab bait. I spent many many hours on the river while my family was home because I was greedy and felt the need to to put a fish in the boat every night after work and or weekend.

I hit my 40's a few years back and my perspective on things seemed to change slowly but surely. My kids were close to their teens and wanted to start coming with me. There is no better feeling then having your son or daughter boat a fish with you at the helm. Just spending time with them and discussing their perspective of their lifes and the things that surround them on a daily basis. It's amazing how much closer you become when you ask questions and listen. I got involved in the kids school activities, coached a football team for the last 5 years, was involved with a softball, basketball and swim teams. With this said I have spent less time on the river over the last two years then I had in the last 25 years combined. What changed is the fact that I enjoyed the chances that I got when I found the time to hit the river. Sometimes the family joins me, sometimes old friends that I have made over the years, some time business customers, and sometimes I just spend a day on the water by myself as a little therapy. What it boils down to is I really appreciate the time when I am able to get out. The air smells a little better, lunch tastes a little better and every fish landed makes for special memory.

With all of this said we still have enough fish to eat every year. In fact my card has been filled due to some exceptional coho fishing this summer and fall. I go out the door to go fishing with a clear head and a what happens happens attitude and you know what? Fishing is fun again and I enjoy the outdoors and the company I share the day with. I spent last Sunday on Tillamook Bay with a couple of friends / business associates and we didn't touch a fish all day. For me it was a fantastic outing. Good friends, good weather and a good time!

I have a couple of more salmon trips planned this fall and will be doing the steelheading this winter and can't wait for my chances to hit the river. It's going to be great!!!

A guess to make a short story long I just need to step back, put things in perspective, and enjoy the time that I get to do the things I love.
 

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Nice post Salmon Stryker , I know i could catch more fish if i spent more time.. I almost feel like i was punished this Coho season cuz there is so much Chinook in my freezer...It's not how much..how big..but what i can remember is posting pics of my two boys holding up fish...the time we spent together...the fighting and bickering in the boat by them and how helpful they were at the dock in and out of the river :grin: Life is good


MrDorkfish


Louis
 
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Salmon Stryker,

Great reflection... I see myself in that post to some degree...

All the great reasons to enjoy the outdoors should not lead to frustration just because I don't catch a fish everytime out.

I need to remember the comradere and the mere opportunity the good Lord affords me to participate in something I truly do love.
 

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Salmon Stryker,
Great post. I can totally relate. Too often we lose perspective on "why" we are out fishing or hunting and need to be reminded. Thanks!
 

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Good post. It seems as though your evolution was in reverse of most. I think early on for most it is about filling the tag and later about being out.
Enjoyed your thoughts
 

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What a great post one of the best i've read in a long time.
I've been fishing for many years caught many fish and about 15 or 16 years ago I met mrdork fish( aka Louis) on the Sandy I adopted Him.We get together a few times a year and it's just a pleasure to be on the river with Him some days We catch some days We dont but each one I savor.It's not what You catch but the friendships You make.
 

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:cheers:

totally agree, awsome post

stroking our ego's is nothing compared to growing in our charecter and enjoying the experience
 

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Right on SS. :cheers: Sometimes we let our ego get the best of us.

By the way, I tried that recipe that you posted about a month ago for smoked slamon dip (with the onion & chive cream cheese) with some of the fish I did up last week...WOW!! :shocked: You weren't kidding. That's stuff was AWESOME!! :bowdown: Thanks again!!

-jokester

[ 11-12-2003, 09:42 AM: Message edited by: jokester ]
 

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I think it was Thoreau who said something like, "Many men fish all their life without realizing that it is not fish they are after."
 

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Good post. I too have gone thru the evolution of "insight".
For myself it has been an on going realization and Im still learning the lesson.
My son is 11 and he started to say things like "Im just going to stay home and relax with mom today" rather than go fish with me.
I realized that the days were not that fun for him because of my "hard core" way of doing things. Every thing was just too big of a deal.
I have stepped back and started a new life.
The pressure to be successful is off and that has given me the chance to feel real joy in teaching my son all that I know. My son is having fun learning now .He never wants to stay home.
If my son understood why the stress is gone he would say thanks.It has been a concious effort.
All he knows is that hunting and fishing with dad is fun.I will make sure it stays that way. id. painter
 

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I have always said “I go fishing to go fishing not to catch fish” “I go hunting not for the kill but for the hunt”.
 

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Great post SS!!!!!!

I think a lot of people get too worked up over catching and harvesting the prey they seek.

Over the years I have experienced exactly what you have felt recently. In my younger day's it was about being the top dog on the river / the woods. Now it's all about enjoying the experience.

My #1 goal now is to teach, and to pass on why it is important to respect nature and our right to hunt and fish. My first student is my son (who turns 9 this Sun). Then comes my buddies who I hunt and fish with. Many are still worried about catching, and not totally enjoying the experience unless they do. I stay patient, and try to explain that if you feel you must launch your boat at 3 am to get a certain area on the river, you are fishing for the wrong reasons. They catch plenty of fish, and still harvest more than they need. They are one step behind you in what I call the evolution of a true sportsmen.

In time, people will read this thread and understand. In the meantime Salmon Stryker, congradulations! :cheers: You have just graduated to the next level of awareness.
 
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I know I have already posted to this string but it is beginning to take on more meaning.

I just read Rusty's post and I too have a son. He is 16 and has really struggled with growing up. I feel somewhat responsible for some of his past issues by force feeding my intesity on him. One time I was out at Hammond and I got so upset about loosing a fish with him in the boat that took the reel off the rod and threw it in the drink. Now there's a good example of enjoying the hobby you love :hoboy: , it is no wonder that he is turned off.

I am sincerely regretting that because although we have spent allot of time together I feel it has not been the best quality due to my intense attitude about the "Kill."

Well, my son who has been at the Oregon National Guard Youth Challenge program since July will be coming home in December with a new lease on life. I vow to make the relationship a better one for our future by allowing ourselves to enjoy the thrill of hunting & fishing without the intensity that Rusty describes. It truly tears the fiber of a relationship down when the exact thing you love so much is allowed to be judged by the kill.

Listen to me :whazzup: ...I think there is much work for me to do to repair the time I have lost due to my ego and intensity.

My son has written me every week since July and I really feel that our relationship is going to be one that will be strong for the rest of our lives based off the steps he is taking in his life.

I just need to allow the quality time from this point forward to be just that when he gets back.
 

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After 50 years of hunting and fishing, (I'm 66) I have found the joy of hunting and fishing is not in the killing of the buck or the bonking of the fish. It is the pursuit of them, along with good friends or my two sons on a sunny day, a wet day or any day in the outdoors.
 
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