I’m proud of my fishing hobby — here’s why

By Ben Lammers

It’s a hot mid-afternoon summer day. I sit on my dock in Cambridge, Maryland, the overwhelming heat of the sun reflecting off the river and beaming onto my skin. I carefully dart a grub lure across the waters below my dock as I wait patiently for a bite. Suddenly my line skirts off and my reel starts ripping the line out from my finger — I’ve caught something.

 I began fishing as a hobby in 2020 to pass the time, something much needed while the world was under quarantine. My family had recently bought a house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and I decided that it was time to learn the art of fishing. 

What I did not expect, however, was how hard this would prove to be. Learning the best spots, what bait to use and how to rig up the fishing rods that had once belonged to my brother proved to be a difficult feat. 

Every day, it seemed, I would go out onto my dock and watch in dismay as my line broke, or wait for hours with the only bites I’d get coming from mosquitoes. I had to learn to adapt to the new conditions. 

One of my biggest problems was with my patience. When I first started, it was almost impossible to sit still for even an hour on slow days. Those days are still painful, but they’ve gotten better, and I’ve developed a heightened appreciation for nature and scenic places where I usually fish.

Quickly, my fishing hobby started expanding. I was spending most of my money on new lures, reels and rods. I began looking at what locals were using online, and started reading more books and blogs about how to fish the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Whenever I was on the Eastern Shore I was out on my boat or my dock fishing. I even added nighttime lights onto my dock so I could fish when it was dark out.

What began as an interest in fishing evolved into a passion for conservation. I wanted to preserve the treasured fisheries that I frequented. So, I started to get involved with conservation programs on the Eastern Shore to both learn more about the Bay, and get involved with protecting my local rivers. 

I began doing “swim testing” where I would collect water samples to test for bacteria counts every Thursday morning. I also took up an internship at the University of Maryland’s biology lab on the Eastern Shore, or Horn Point.

I’ve often had some people make assumptions about my fishing hobby. They’ve called it boring, and fell for the stereotype that fishing is just for old people. They’re wrong. Fishing, and other hobbies that may seem slow to outsiders, can be both beneficial and fun.

Fishing has allowed me to gain a better appreciation for nature, and I enjoy every chance I get to go fishing. It no longer passes the time for me — it’s the time I most look forward to.