Why This Vegetarian Started Fishing Again
I don’t think I am alone when I say that learning about the behaviors of fish led me to sympathize with them. My interest in the sport of fishing was strong, but something about ripping them out of the water for sport started to seem unkind. Catch and release was recreation for me, but a huge disturbance for the fish.
There are documentaries on Netflix about the food industry that I think we all avoid watching. In college, I made the mistake of watching all of them. A lot of them are a touch extremist, but they offer a lot of jarring information about sustainability and animal cruelty that I felt I should know about. These films changed my worldview, and part of that was an understanding that catch and release wasn’t just unkind or inconsiderate to fish: it was just gratuitous cruelty.
I retired my rod and reel.
Over the past few years I had been slowly reintroducing meat into my diet with a focus on buying local, sustainably grown meats when possible. After talking with the Yukon locals about their fish management techniques, I felt secure in my decision that catching and eating fish from these waters could be quite sustainable. The next day I went to a local outfitter, bought a very basic set up, and went out to fish in the Yukon river.
I pulled out a beautiful, edible, Arctic Grayling. I knew it was finally time to learn how to clean and cook my own fish. I was nervous about taking it’s life but I felt confident I could do it humanely. About fifteen minutes later I was enjoying the freshest fish meal I had eaten in my entire life. I was overcome with a feeling of satisfaction, but also a feeling of gratitude for nature and the wonderful sustenance our planet can provide for us.
What keeps you fishing? What do you do with the fish you catch?
Comment below to chime in!