I have fond memories of fishing as a child. My little brother and I would spend hours at a pond that was about a mile from our house, stocked with bass, sunfish, frogs and an assortment of other animals. It was a Huckleberry type of upbringing, fishing, catching frogs, swimming in the pond. I still remember when my brother caught the biggest bass ever (In my mind it was 10 lbs.), and how it twisted and bent his rod over, to the point of snapping, but he fought it and brought that bass in.

I remember cleaning it (I had thousands of eggs in it) and our Dad cooking it. I remember catching sunfish by the thousands – truly the stupidest of fish, they would hit an empty hook.

I remember junior school, where I babysat for a couple down the street (Babysitting truly is the best of evening jobs, I did it up until I was 17 … sit on their couch, collect money, eat their pop and food, do homework, what is not to enjoy (except for the coolness factor)). He was a big fly fisherman, his kids were very young, and he taught me how to tie flies. My buddy Duane and I started fly fishing (Duane’s family were hunters, bit time) and I remember going to the rivers in Alberta and spending hours casting and catching trout and bass. Fly fishing is truly a serene and wonderful sport, an art of sorts and I was pretty good at both tying and casting.

Fond memories, shattered.

So we are out with the boys at a friends cottage, which happens to be a private island and they start fishing. I hang around to help, as the boys have not done this before. Low and behold, they start catching fish, quickly. Just as quickly, the event degrades into me with a pair of plyers ripping hooks out of the mouths of tiny little fish, the last one resulting in me leaving the hook in and cutting the line and I am starting to think ‘What the heck is this? This is the most cruel frickin thing in the world’

I eliminate all forms of bait so they can cast and have fun but with no bait so they don’t catch these poor little bass.

What a brutal sport. I understand that going for big fish is different, etc. But really, catch and release, what is the point? Yank the poor fish up to the boat, by the mouth, rip the hook out (maybe), then release him/her back to the wild. Do fish not feel pain?

Just brutal. Bye-bye fond memories, how cruel I must have been.

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