Whether it’s passion or obsession, the benefits of salmon fishing are virtually endless.

This column is an opinion of Gord Follett, former editor of the Newfoundland Sportsman.

Well, after eight long months – 10 for those who only fish during prime time – the 2022 recreational salmon fishing season is finally here. And while that doesn’t mean a row of beans for some, it’s like Christmas – better, in fact, in many ways – for tens of thousands of diehards.

“Obsession” could be a pretty accurate description of our passion for this thrilling outdoor activity, sometimes called “the sport of kings”.

Notice, I’m not a king in any sense of the word. But I feel pretty special when I participate in my favorite outdoor hobby.

I describe it as “exciting” – and it really is – but it’s also quite relaxing at the same time. “Hey hey, figure it out,” a friend who doesn’t fish once told me. “It can’t be both.

Oh but it can. And it’s.

Gord Follett prepares to release a salmon from the Crabbes River. (Submitted by Gord Follett)

Many times over the years, when I was emotionally struggling with one issue or another, a few leisurely hours casting a fly down a slow-flowing river somehow cleared my mind, even though I didn’t. have never caught or even ridden a single fish. It’s hard to describe, really, unless you’ve done this or something similar on the outside that you find peaceful.

And if you happen to snag one of those silver balls, your peace of mind instantly shifts into arousal plus mode, without erasing all the positive, soothing vibes that had been absorbed over the past two, three, or four hours. previous ones.

On more than one occasion over the years, I’ve actually fished four or five consecutive days, an average of 10 hours a day, without catching any salmon. And at the end of each, as I was packing to go home, I considered it another great trip!

As I write this article, I am walking up and down the stairs at home, preparing for my first salmon fishing trip of the season, on the west coast of Newfoundland. I will be joined by my brother Jeff and my friend Sean. Although nothing too serious, the three of us have reasons for wanting to clear our minds for a few days, whether personal or professional. I don’t know if any of us will catch a fish. But I’m sure that once the river flow reaches knee height for our waders, our
the spirits will immediately switch to “relax” mode.

A major element of any successful fishing trip is camaraderie, and I have been very lucky to have experienced this on virtually every trip. I would much rather have a good time with my buddies and not catch a single fish than catch a dozen salmon while we constantly argue and bicker.

Four men in fishing gear stand with their arms around their shoulders.
For many of us, the camaraderie is the most important and rewarding aspect of any trip. From left to right ; Sean Kearsey, Tony Vinnicombe, John Dyke and Gord Follett. (Submitted by Gord Follett)

If one of our group isn’t having much luck catching fish after a few days and one of us is having great success, you can bet your bottom dollar that the guys doing good will do whatever is in their power to help him get on the dash, whether by giving him one of our “killer” flies, calling him to cast where someone has just mounted a fish, or running towards him with a dip net if he catches one.

This is why and how, with our crew, at the end of the trip there is usually not much difference in the number of fish caught by each angler.

About a year ago on social media someone posted an article titled The 10 benefits of fishing, which included both mental and physical rewards. I have experienced and agree with each, which I will summarize here.

Fishing:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Create social connections.
  • Improves self-esteem.
  • Improves balance and coordination.
  • Teaches patience and appreciation.
  • Makes memories for life.
  • Trains your mind to focus.
  • Contribute to conservation.
  • Burn calories.
  • Stimulates the economy.

I’ll add one thing that this article neglected to mention: the health benefits of eating wild (not farmed) salmon.

So this is it. You can either spend $150 an hour on a therapist…or go fishing.

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