Let it be said loudly and without flinching: We sometimes fish for meat.
In an age when many anglers speak forcefully about conservation or pursue exotic species with specialized techniques, such a declaration risks sounding tone-deaf. But this is no crude statement, no lead-dunker’s manifesto, no ode to stubborn redneckery. The fact that our boat is well-stocked with hi-lo rigs, bank sinkers and chum ladles does not mean that we do not take fishing seriously or release many fish, or that we don’t enjoy the intangibles that come with fishing. It means something else entirely: the idea that fishing can be a central activity of living in closer concert with the environment and that anglers who engage in the full, primal experience — finding, catching, cleaning, storing and eating the quarry — are purposefully choosing more natural lives than our busy culture encourages or makes easy to realize.