The fishing life: When it comes to wetting a line, this is what it’s all about


My own fishing life traces back to an old army haversack. For generations, it has carried worms and keepers, with cold fingers digging for another nightcrawler as peat moss and dirt spilled over the last fish to take the bait. My haversack is part of the trout stream experience, where the sights and sounds of nature bring more rewards than a limit of fish—just like the fishing life itself.

The fishing life is resourcefulness. We anglers often overcome unfavourable weather, equipment breakdowns and all kinds of unexpected challenges to reach our destinations. We also strive to learn and improve. We read how-to articles, listen to the pros, build our tackle collections and study our fisheries.


The fishing life is a pledge for conservation. We stand up for watersheds and woodlands that need protection from plans for more plazas and pavement. We have a first-hand understanding about the true value of nature, and we promise to help others share in that understanding through fishing.

The author’s son, Charlie Pye

The fishing life is personal wellness. It’s an escape from worries and isolation. Waterways are the best medicine for waves of stress, with lures washed and fish reeled in during long periods of mindfulness. Fishing slows life down, and provides time for calm reflection.

The fishing life is our past. For me, it is proudly portrayed in dust-covered albums of black-and-white family memories. Century-old photographs were developed when smiles for the camera were frowned upon, but not so with vintage fishing pictures. Even in the old days, it was hard to hide our fishing pride.


The fishing life is our future. Grinning alongside a rainbow trout he caught, my eldest son bears an uncanny resemblance to his great-grandfather, a Second World War veteran who wore a haversack overseas, as well as on the trout streams we fish today. And that’s all I need to see to keep my own fishing life going strong.