This article is going to focus not on the "how," but the "why" behind fishing. I am going to try to dissect the reality behind hauling in a flailing critter, why do we do it?

Could millions of people around the world be absolutely out of their minds to think that catching a fish is fun? Some activist groups think so, but I don't think it's the act of sticking a fish that attracts us to the pastime. Fishing is a unique sport that pits one man against one elusive creature. It is simple, anyone can do it, and the rewards are different for every person.

In a way, it is like an aquatic version of chess. You set up your pieces in such a way that you can achieve your goal, in this case, to catch a fish. You can sit on the bank, cane pole in hand, but the fact of the matter is that you probably won't land many fish. Give a man a boat and you improve his chances tenfold. Replace the cane pole with a rod and reel, and again, you have done him justice. Now add amenities which many of us take for granted: LCD fishfinder, trolling motor, high-performance outboard, technologically advanced tackle, and a cooler of drinks and you have a fish catching machine.

My point in all of this nonsense is to figure out what fishing really is. It's like the eternal question of life, why are we here? With all of that philosophical stuff out of the way, let's determine why we pursue those slimy little suckers and what enjoyment it could possibly bring.

Okay, you spend a month and a fortune preparing yourself for one day on the water. Right off the bat, there's personal sacrifice in the form of time and money. Everyone knows that when you put effort into anything, it's extremely rewarding to have something to show for it in the end. It's kind of like putting together a 5,000-piece replica of the Titanic. It may have taken you two years, you may have gotten your hand glued to the table more than once, but you now have a beautiful model cruise ship to show when it's all over. Well, in fishing, you spend all of this time and effort in order to do one thing: land a fish. Whether you keep it or release it, the landed fish is the common factor in every successful fishing outing.

But what's so great about landing a fish? Why in the world are you and I compelled to land fish, or at least die trying? It is purely a hard-to-answer question. I'm sure there's as many answers to it as there are fishermen. That is why fishing is so great, from farm pond perch to bluewater billfish, the goal is the same, but the rewards are different for each person. It doesn't matter if you're one or a hundred and one, you can still catch fish. Blind, deaf, genius or mentally challenged, fish remain unbiased. Anyone can catch fish, and that's what makes fishing so great.