I fish because it is fun. I fish because I enjoy the freedom I feel from being exposed to the elements, and the vulnerability to the danger that is intrinsic with nature’s forces and the creatures she possesses.
I do not fish because it is fashionable to do so. I use a rod & reel, not wear it. My rod & reel is not a symbol of status. It exists simply for me and me alone. My rod & reel are not toys. It is an extension of my being, and I will treat it accordingly, with the same respect as I have for myself, my sport and nature.
I strive to understand the intricacies of my sport, from the most basic to the most complex. I learn everything I can about my sport, so that I am reliant upon no one but myself for the successes and failures I experience. I strive to constantly better my skill of control over my rod & reel. I will learn it’s limits, and use my skill to become one with my rod & reel so that we may keep each other alive should the need arise. I am the master, it is my servant. Working together in harmony, we will become an invincible team and will rejoice in our successes and learn from our failures.
I do not fear death. I will, however, do all possible to avoid death prematurely. Fear is the enemy, not death. Fear on the water leads to death, therefore I will not let fear be my master. I will master it. My rod, reel and sport will outlive me. Therefore, they are my legacy. I will care for them for future fishermen to cherish as I have cherished them, whoever they may be.
I do not fish to gain attention or respect from those that do not fish, nor do I wish to intimidate or annoy them or my fellow fishermen. For those that do not want to know me, all I wish from them is to ignore me. For those that desire to know me, I will share with them the truth of myself, so that they might understand me and others like me.
I will show respect to other fishermen more experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will learn from them all I can. However, if my respect is not acknowledged or appreciated then it shall end and they shall be cast aside. I will not show disrespect to other fishermen less experienced or knowledgeable than I am. I will teach them what I can. However, if they show me, my sport or my fellow fishermen disrespect they shall be discarded.
It will be my task to mentor new fishermen, if they so desire, into the lifestyle and sport of fishing so that the breed known as fishermen and fisherwomen shall continue. I shall instruct them, as I have been instructed by those before me. I shall preserve and honor the traditions of fishermen before, and will pass them on unaltered.
I will not judge other fishermen on their choice of rod, reel or tackle, their appearance, or their profession. I will judge them only on their conduct as fishermen.
I am proud of my accomplishments as a fisherman, though I will not flaunt them to others. If they ask, I will share them. I will stand ready to help any other fisherman that truly needs my help.
I will never ask another fisherman to do for me what I can do for myself. I am a fisherman when and where-ever I go. I am proud to be a fisherman. I fish to better understand myself, my sport, the lands in which I fish, and seek out and know other fishermen like me.