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The Angling Journey: 5 Stages of Being a Fisherman or Woman

Stages of Being a Fisherman
Getty Images: stammphoto

Fishing is a lifelong adventure and comes in stages. Here's how to know you're on the right track.

From the first moment we wanted to go fishing with mom or dad we all wanted to be successful just like they were. For many of us it was simply walking to the water with one grandparent or both to try and discover what it was that the pond had hidden for everyone.

In all the days since that time, we've all been made acutely aware of the joys, pitfalls, and the work ethic it takes to be an angler of epic proportions. Now that might sound like each and everyone of us wants to go pro at some point in our lives, but fishing isn't that important. It's actually much more important than that!

Like all of our outdoor pursuits, fishing is just plain fun since, as they say, the tug is the drug. Over the course of a lifetime of angling pleasure, transformations between success, failure, and definitive learning opportunities come to each of us based on the countless hours holding our favorite rod and reel combo and it's not over yet.

When Any Fish Is Enough

This is called the "I just want to catch anything" period where a bite - any bite - is a good one no matter what it is. This is the point at which a beginner angler is ready to see their bobber go down, feel that first nibble, or lock onto the lightest strike.

Sometimes a veteran angler that is standing with a novice can return to his or her roots by watching the sheer excitement of the moment and reliving it all over again.

When You Want To Limit Out

Stages of Being a Fisherman
Getty Images: Michael Traficante

For many of us that meant, yes, taking them all home to the frying pan which is the way we were taught. Over the years it turned into a rite of passage to release them all to fight again, but to do that the fisherman still has to catch them all!

This stage comes after having some success early on, realizing that you have the skills needed, and then expecting it to happen. It's just that stage two-and-a-half is the "good luck with that" stage.

When You Start To Expect the Big Ones

Stages of Being a Fisherman
Getty Images: stammphoto

So, you've gone out many times and caught a fish or two. Good on you, because you have the skills now. Then you've been fortunate enough to limit out, even gone way over that since catch and release culling is a perfectly acceptable way of fishing. Now, your expectations have gone through the roof and you are ready, willing, and able to hook into some bruisers!

Now go back to stage two-and-a-half.

Odds are with a seasoned angler targeting fish, that he or she has a good working knowledge of angling will at some point latch into a fish of a lifetime and land it. This stage is almost worse than the limiting out stage since you've now taught yourself that it is not only possible, but highly desirable.

This is the stage where many of the best fishing guides and folks we watch on TV have made their careers come true.

When You're Just Happy To Go Fishing

We've caught many a fish by this point in our fishing lives, thrown back many limits, take some pictures of the biggest personal best fish we've all ever caught, and have the memories to prove it all worthwhile. At this stage of our angling journey, we still get excited to go fishing, but are a little more subdued about the whole operation.

This isn't to say that we're not as enthused anymore. Only that any moment on the riverbank, out on the lake, or walking the local creek is an act of pure joy that can only be made better when we catch something. It's just that we don't get all that disappointed if it doesn't happen. Why? Because we're fishing, that's why.

The Take a Kid Fishing Stage

Stages of Being a Fisherman
Getty Images: OcsusFocus

It is a purely joyful thing to take along a kid, or any novice fisherman for that matter, and use your lifelong angling skills to put them on a fish and watch them land it. This is a stage that we all go through: sharing the skills of a life of learning to fish to make better and more educated fishermen.

Eventually, watching a kid, friend, or family member land their first fish will make you as happy as if you were landing it yourself. And the best part: it will take you back in time to that first point when you felt the same amount of joy from that first fish, limit, and that big one that you will never forget.

The Joy That Is Fishing

We go through all of the emotions when fishing- excitement, exhilaration, challenges overcome, and the epic despair of failure, which may be the best reason why we keep coming back. Because of this stage, we started casting in the back yard at the underlying branches of apple tree and pitching into the family swimming pool.

We learned to don a pair of waders, float in a tube and flip a bait. We learned that walking upstream was the best method, and how to cast from a drifting boat. Now we only wish to share the knowledge with the next generation of anglers because we are sure of one thing: the more success that they have, the more they will want to protect the fish that the catch.

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The Angling Journey: 5 Stages of Being a Fisherman or Woman