Fishing: Lost Lures & Life Lessons

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Brother + Sister | Lake Lahontan | circa 1999

Some of my earliest memories include fishing with my family. When I was little, we would stop by this little store to pick up a small, Styrofoam cup of worms on our way to go fishing at Lake Lahontan. Every single time, I would name each of the worms and make up little stories about their lives. While my younger brother refused to touch the worms (and he still does to this very day), my dad had to convince me to stop playing with the worms so that we could bait our hooks. Unless we are on a backpacking trip, we usually practice catch and release.

Pyramid Lake Sunset

Yesterday, my family celebrated my dad’s birthday with a quick fishing trip to the Truckee River. There is something so peaceful and calming about being near water. Just being outdoors and away from technology has a way of clearing your mind. However, getting my dad to stop fishing is like trying to pull a ten-year-old boy away from his favorite video game. Near impossible. This is literally how the end of the fishing went yesterday:

Mom: “Okay, Russ–it’s time to start wrapping up…”

Dad: “Alright, let me catch just one more fish.”

*Next cast, catches fish*

*Dad continues fishing*

Me: “I thought that was the last one?”

Dad: “Okay, okay. Just one more fish.”

*Repeat scenario a few more times*

Dad in his happy place | Pyramid Lake

I am thankful I grew up fishing. Fishing teaches you a few very important and valuable life lessons.

Patience: We all interact with people on a daily basis who have zero patience. I have gone on fishing trips with dad during which we spent 8 hours on the lake and caught nothing. Literally–we wouldn’t even get one bite. We have also had days, like yesterday, when we caught fish every few casts. There are some days when things will go your way. However, you will also have days when it feels like nothing is going your way. That is just a part of life. We can’t control everything–sometimes we have to wait a really long time for something we want more than anything. Whether you have patience through faith, or by training yourself to change your mindset–even just a little bit of patience will take you far in life. I was not going to say it but I know it crossed your mind–patience is a virtue. 

Time with family is never wasted: Some of you might be laughing at the fact that I have spent many 8-hour days fishing on a lake, catching nothing. Why waste so much time? Well–none of that time ever felt wasted. I was able to spend valuable time with my dad, brother, grandpa, uncles, and cousins, making memories that will last a lifetime. 

Nothing is perfect: During yesterday’s fishing trip, the following happened in just a few brief hours:

Fishing lures lost: 8 (sorry dad)

Fishing pole malfunctions: 1

Trying to find a parking spot: near impossible

Fish caught and released back into the river: 9!

Life’s not perfect and you’ll make things much easier for yourself if you learn to laugh at the small things and appreciate life’s hiccups. 

Commitment: When we go fishing at Pyramid Lake, we bring our waders and dress for the weather. Yesterday’s trip to the river was not supposed to involve getting in the water. On a pathetic cast, I got one of dad’s favorite lures stuck in the rocks. Oops. Without a second thought, my dad jumps in the river (in his gym shoes) to save his precious lure. If you are passionate about something or someone, it’s not difficult to be fully committed. Commitment is something that does not require contemplation–it’s effortless. Oh, and let’s recall those 8-hour long fishing trips I mentioned earlier…complete commitment.

learning to fly fish in 50 mph wind | Pyramid Lake

What are some of the activities you experienced growing up that taught you valuable life lessons? I would love to hear your thoughts!