Watching Water: An Education in the Outdoors

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There have been many instances, especially during fishing, when my eyes pick up more information than the people around me see. Until I point out the fish or bug or bird it remains invisible to my companion. Now, this does happen often and with everyone, there are always going to be instances where someone else sees something that my eyes miss.

The thing is, there is a very significant difference in what I call my “fisherman’s eyes” than those that are untrained in staring at water. On a recent camping trip, the pond’s surface was rippling with the surface activity of many fish and I repeatedly remarked on this to which my sister responded with, “What do you mean? I can’t see anything!” From my vantage point the reflection of the pine trees made the water’s surface a dark green color so all rippling water shown with the glinting presence of fish. From her seat, the water glare made all the pond a bright white sky so I knew to angle my eyes differently.

This awareness of surface glare is not actually something that I was taught but something I instinctively understand will aid me in fishing. I have the automatic instinct to look at the water in a certain way to pick up things that others, like my sister, may sometimes miss. This concept abounds in fishing where my ability to see or feel or hear what others miss makes me a better fisherman.

In another example, I can perceive a fish bite versus a rock on the lake bottom just by years of learning to tell the difference between the two.

This phenomenon is something I think about often because it means that my mind is specifically geared towards fishing differently from others. It begs the question “What about the people that have never been fishing before? What are they to do when I see tons of fish activity and they see a lake with rippling water?” It is my philosophy that if you have an ability or specialty then it is your responsibility to share it with others.

If you have a fisherman’s eye or a photographer’s composition or even a way with words, use your gifts to help and teach others. All of us with quirky aspects have a duty to show our peers what we know to be possible.

To me, watching water for fish is second nature. I automatically crouch and cast and interpret where the fish are at. By experiencing my passion with other people, I am constantly reminded that my abilities make me a teacher. I am not a master by any means, but my education in certain things extends beyond the edge of gen-eds for outdoor recreation.

This I found from watching water. Some say fishing is boring and they can’t draw and don’t like writing and can’t cook but in all these things it takes an education to pursue. School is not the be all end all of learning, they do not teach fishing at my high school.

Thus, I must be a teacher in my field. All outdoorsmen have that ability.

The question is, what kind of education do you have?

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