Thursday, April 12, 2012

Buck Perry's Principle Reconsidered: Do We Ever Stop Fishing?

Buck Perry, known as "the daddy of structure fishing" and much talked about during the 1970's, had a lot to say himself. Since fishing involves so much more than catching fish, inevitably his obvious principle that the purpose of fishing is to catch fish--about as tautological as anything can be--irritated me. 

Of course this is true. To fish is to try to catch: the proposition "to try to catch" is in fact embedded in the meaning of the word fishing. But I kept trying to see my way around the compulsory feeling of trying to catch, as if trying to catch is a value at all costs. Why not fill a bathtub with bass and employ a bunker snag? Or why not get temperamental and doubt yourself at points along every retrieve just to be sure you are really fishing? Is it possible to fish with grace? Or do you have kick yourself in the ass to make sure every cast "counts."

Maybe the question is: Are you an angler--a fisherman--or not? Because if you are an angler, then when do you every really stop fishing? When do you ever stop intending to catch if you are indeed a fisherman? Do you have only conscious intentions? Isn't it possible intentions keep on actively seeking objects while you are consciously occupied otherwise, or asleep? Doesn't action necessarily follow from identity? So if you are an angler, then every act of yours has no separation from fishing. 

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