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“It’s Never JUST Fishing”

Let me again refer back to our current fishing promotion and commercial for this blog post.


We kicked around a lot of ideas for that promotion and settled on the “It’s Never JUST Fishing” theme.  That theme means a lot of different things to hard-core anglers.  One meaning that many of us thought of was all the logistics and preparations that go into a fishing trip–getting the boat ready to go, putting new line on reels, finding bait and keeping it alive, studying fishing forecasts and reports, packing all the gear, food and beverages, etc., etc., etc.  That is all part of the process, part of the “lifestyle” for many of us.

It’s never JUST fishing.

Another meaning that we hope resonates through the commercial and campaign is the shared experiences that fishing can provide for families.  Fishing is a great recreational activity that the whole family can do together.  You have probably heard me say it, I will say it again here, fishing is an activity that every one from the kids to grandparents can share–grab the family, grab the fishing gear, throw a picnic lunch together and head out to the local fishing hole!  Yes, we want folks to catch fish and enjoy their time in the outdoors, we have provided resources to help folks accomplish that (e.g. http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/Fishing/GoFishing/index.asp), but besides catching fish what we really hope is that families discover fishing as a way to get outdoors and spend time together.

It is never JUST fishing.

I can, and through my blog, have shared a plethora of memories from my time spent fishing with family and friends.

I cannot remember catching these fish, if you look close I am sure they are walleyes, but I can remember being held up to the top of that fence and seeing the fish swimming in the waters far below.  I believe I have been fascinated with fish, and fishing, ever since.

It’s never JUST fishing.

I have lots of memories of trips when things did not go as well as planned. . . .

Cold, rainy days when the fish did not bite and we ate cold beans from a can.  No one remembered to bring forks so we ate the beans with potato chips.  Still I can remember being devastated when we had to quit fishing and go home; I was cold and miserable, but I wanted to catch a fish so bad it hurt to quit.

Ice fishing when it was so cold a minnow froze instantly upon being dropped.

Riding out a severe thunderstorm in a tent on the shores of Merritt Reservoir (every one I know who has ever fished Merritt has at least one storm story!).

Gramps losing his wallet somewhere on the rocks at Lake McConaughy (we never did find it).

Busting a fillet knife while trying to clean a gar for the first time.

It’s never JUST fishing.

You might consider those to be unpleasant memories, but really they are not–they are the fabric of time spent together as family.  Those little hardships and adventures are how we remember the best of times spent together.

Many of the memories are of passing it on, passing my outdoors heritage from grandparents and folks, aunts and uncles down to my kids, nieces and nephews. . . .

It’s never JUST fishing.

Some of the memories are of watching my kids grow up. . . .

And being darned proud of what they can accomplish themselves.

It’s never JUST fishing.

You can look through my blog, look through my photos, and you will know that the fish are very important, big fish especially.

But, It’s never JUST fishing.

I hope that message stays with people.  I believe families are looking for things they can do together, things that bring them together and perhaps get them away from the television, video games, and smart phones even for just a little bit.  I believe families are looking for and need activities that can draw them together and make them stronger.  Fishing is an activity that can offer that; it does not have to be complicated, it is not expensive, and it can offer so much more than JUST fishing.

The fish are biting, now.  It is time.  Get the family together and start your own traditions, make your own memories.  I hope that there are fish in the middle of it all, but when you look back, when you page through the photos, you will realize it is never JUST fishing.  I love the line at the end of the commercial when the neighbor expects to see a stringer of fish in the back of the pickup truck and there is none–“We kept what’s most important”.

It’s never JUST fishing.

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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