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The Ballot is in: 10 Fishing Quotes Powerful Enough to Commit to Memory

There has been a lot said about fishing. Some quotes are insightful.

Others are laugh-out-loud hilarious. If you're like me, some fishing quotes, usually from your friends, are downright lies. Let's skip the lies this time and focus on some true insight about fishing.

Some will help you fish better; others will help you live better. All ten are worth remembering.

"Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers."


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Herbert Hoover gets a bad rap as the 31st president of the United States. Why? Because he presided over the country as it descended into the Great Depression. But that's a debate for people a heck of a lot smarter than me.

One thing I do know is that Hoover had some good quotes about fishing. This one touches on why we fish: simplicity in this chaotic life.

Yes, we have all sorts of gear and gadgets, but in the end, it's all about us putting a baited hook in the water, trying to get the fish to bite.

"I do hunt, and I do fish, and I don't apologize to anybody for hunting and fishing."


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When Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf speaks, you listen. And it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep this quote in mind.

There are plenty of people who would argue (and, boy, do they argue) that fish lives matter, too. Guess what? We know that. That's why we fish (and hunt) responsibly: To preserve the species for their own good ... and for some tasty vittles.

"There's an absolute surety to the hands-on conservation lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping where you know you're going to consume today."


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To say Ted Nugent has a way with words is an understatement. Many of those words are of his own, unique creation, but this quote is a good one to hold on to as to why we fish.

Conservation, and the ability to provide food for the table.

I'd even say remember this one along with General Schwarzkopf's above. Be confident in your fishing, and be able to back it up with reason.

"Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl." 


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Now, we get to the art of fishing, and Ernest Hemingway had a lot to say about that.

He had some pretty firm opinions and rules about his outdoor activities. Many of those opinions and rules went deep into the man-code playbook. However, this quote offers an insight into the mentality of many anglers. We crave solitude. We need the time away from the stress and worry of jobs, bills... and other people.

Of course, fishing together is fun, but no one is standing behind you, watching what you do and commenting. There should be a law against that. Or, a law allowing anglers in the situation to take firm actions, shall we say.

"Be patient and calm, for no one can catch fish in anger."

Hoover checks in again with this gem.

I don't know about you, but any time when I'm fishing and I get angry or those with me get angry, there aren't any fish being hauled into the boat.

In fact, the situation usually deteriorates into tangled line, broken gear and hooks through body parts.

Fishing is a time to calm down (except when there's a strike; then, all hell can break loose), forget about the worries of life.

"If your concentration is getting bad, take up bass fishing. It will really improve your ability to focus. If you aren't ready when that fish hits, you can't set the hook."


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This wisdom comes from golfer Lee Trevino. Sure, he was talking about golf, but the principle applies to anything.

Can't concentrate on your job? Go bass fishing. Can't focus on those repairs? Go bass fishing.

You could almost say, "If you have a problem, go bass fishing."

However, Trevino's quote also offers insight into improving your bass fishing technique—concentrate!

"If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles." 

Doug Larson was a newspaper columnist and editor in Wisconsin. Toward the end of his career, he wrote a column that was basically a string of memorable quotes. This one really gets to the essence of fishing. It gets to what's important in life.

As has already been noted, life gets busy and out-of-control sometimes. We need to remember what's important, and fishing does that. Fishing gets us back to nature, and it gets us back to spending time with friends and family. (Ones who don't stand behind you and ruin your concentration).

"I've managed to convince my wife that somewhere in the Bible it says, 'Man cannot have too many shotguns and fishing poles.'"

Seems Schwarzkopf took Larson's quote to heart. Maybe a little too much. Stormin' Norman was a no-nonsense general who pointed U.S. troops to victory in the Gulf War in 1991.

He was also a funny guy who loved the outdoors. And his gear.

In fact, you can read into this quote a vital fishing tip: It's important to have the right gear at the right time.

Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but it is true.

"Do not tell fish stories where the people know you... but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish."


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Speaking of liars, Mark Twain is always good for a funny, yet meaningful, quote.

We anglers tend to exaggerate a bit. That's not to say that Twain never exaggerated himself. But, it's good advice—don't go overboard on the fish stories. And it's really a good idea not to lower yourself in the opinion of others by stretching the truth just a little too much.

"The two best times to fish is when it's rainin' and when it ain't."


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Patrick McManus is one of funniest outdoor writers around. And this is a funny quote, but it is also a good one to remember. Why? The simple advice it offers: Go fishing!