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By Rev. Jim Innes

The sport of "Fishin" is an exciting process of decision-making and resourcefulness.

It is an incredible mix of science, history, geography, and economics. And, when all prep is completed, it brings you to the water's edge, where the grip of nature and the hopeful thrill of anticipation outweighs all else going on in your life.

Fishing is a challenging complexity of considerations. A wealth of wisdom supplements the creative competence of putting a rod in the water. You can be taught it, and/or read about it, and/or experiment with it. And, just when you think you've mastered it, the winds change, the tides turn, and all your best efforts leave you high and dry. Importantly, this is why the sport is called Fishing and not `Catching.'

Catching is a bonus. Nonetheless, success at catching (which is different than success at Fishing) is a matter of where you fish and what you are fishing for. A big lake for big fish can leave you 'beat' many more times than fishing a hot spot for small pan fish.

Considerations are also given for the bait used, the time of day, the water temperature, and the wind's direction. I also heard that if you cast with one eye open and your mouth tightly closed, your chances are improved.

As I see it, folks who engage in sport fishing for what they will catch are quickly disheartened. Those who genuinely engage in the sport absorb themselves in the art of being well prepared. And that preoccupation is what makes the sport so appealing.

Fishing does not start at the fishing hole; it begins when you decide to try. It may take weeks of planning to determine when and where to go, what kind of fish to pursue, and what bait to use. And, whether you are fishing from a boat or dock, from beside a stream or lake, there is the proper equipment to collect, clothing to choose, and food to pack.

If you're a planner and like to write your own adventure, there are endless choices in fishing equipment, tackle, transportation, destination, and accommodation.

You can create a different experience each time you go out. You might simply decide, "I want to catch trout," and after researching where and how to catch them, find yourself in a brand-new location with equipment never before used.

There are endless stories about how to manage your success--every opinion on what style of casting, trolling, or jigging to use on a particular day, in a specific spot, for a certain fish. There are online fish sites and widely circulated magazines. There are fishing emporiums (like Capella's) that open the imagination to what's possible (and not). There are also small private bait shops whose owner knows the local scene firsthand.

It's also a sport well-regulated and managed. Licenses need to be bought, and policies need to be followed. Many of these enforced laws have to do with what time of year certain fish can be caught and in what quantities. As well, rules around trespassing and littering are intrinsic to the sport.

So, next time you see a sign that says "gone fishin", know it was not an effortless plan to step back. The love of the sport is in the planning and implementation--a complex strategy to beat the odds.

Rev. Jim Innes is the rector of the Regional Ministry of South Huron.