There are really a lot more benefits going fishing, than we thought before.When I was a young boy, on a particularly gloomy Saturday morning, I remember going off the coast of Northern California with my dad. It was one of those days that starts bad and then gets worse. For starters, 8-year-old me dropped half of the tackle box in the water. Even throughout this accident, Pops was his usual stoic self while grunting through a mid-morning Coors. While these events were unfolding, the weather seemed to be changing. The grey sky was promising rain, and all the fish uniformly decided to go on vacation. An hour later, something hit my tender ears as the outboard crapped itself in choppy waters. My dad was swearing at the top of his lungs. Although loud, the laughs from a group of boaters, at least thirty yards away, were louder. They were catching more salmon than a grizzly in a boiling Alaskan river. We caught nothing that day, aside from a cold. When we climbed back into the old bucket pickup that afternoon, pops brushed his hand on my shoulder and smiled. After all, we had a great day together – fishing. We were together. Everything was right with the world. Father/Son bonding aside, it was a good day because fishing is right for you. Not in some hippy-dippy way, where the powers of Poseidon somehow align our chakras, but in an honest to goodness, scientific approach.
Fishing Helps You Keep FitOk, you’re not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who spent years in the gym, only by casting your line every day; however, whether it’s paddling out to your secret spot or lugging the all that gear down the beach, the simple act of venturing out to drop your line has exercise built in. At 76, my dad who still fishes several times a week is fit as a fiddle. There is no word yet from the laboratory as to whether questionable language increases your caloric expenditure, but the correlation is there, so it must help. There have been scientific studies showing the act of casting, especially fly fishing, can have an enhanced impact on long term mobility. Take that, yoga!
You Want Fish on The MenuYes, mercury poisoning is a thing; however, not very common. You won’t find any doctors arguing that the high levels of omega-3s in fish are healthy for your heart. There have been lengthy studies showing a diet including fresh fish can help make your skin shine, your eyes focus better, helps with respiratory ailments and decreases arthritis. Those Omega 3s tend to lubricate your joints like good oil on a tight ball bearing. Some people get their Omega 3s from pills, however, the best place and the easiest for your body to use is from fresh fish. You can stay on top of the best fish to eat by frequenting the recommendations list at Seafood Watch, which also updates the best catches of the day.
Say No to StressWe’ve all had bad days fishing. But even the worst, like when the waders leak, the lines snap and someone forgets the whiskey, still somehow manage to leave us content at the end of the day. Controlling stress is extremely important in a world where the vast majority report experiencing high pressure – regularly. Stress can impact everything from weight gain to increased strokes and heart attacks. Most fisherman will tell you that fishing makes them feel better. That’s arguably the best reason to go. Just ask the folks over at Rivers of Recovery. This non-profit, who specializes in treating victims of PTSD with an outdoor recreation-based methodology, reports participants have experienced massive drops in guilt, hostility and even fear after just a few days of fishing. If it can help our men and women who’ve been into battle, it surely can help you deal with the annoying guy at work or the daily stresses of general life. Putting the phone away isn’t necessarily fishing-specific, but let’s talk about the break from technology. You can have your fancy finders and $1000 rods if you need them, but at least the phone is tucked away. When it is time to take a selfie with the day’s catch, at least wait until you get home to post it to that all-important social media. Maybe, what is central for most of us, is the game of fishing. At the end of the day, it’s mainly about stepping away from it all – even if only for a few short hours a week or month. Sure, landing something is excellent, but the memories of lapping water, the smells of the brine, the rumblings of the river and those quiet little memories/connections with family and friends is what fishing is all about. And, this is what keeps us going back.
Chef Bobby is a Chef and Cookbook Author. He loves to share his knowledge of cooking and handling of fish with our community.