The topic of ethics can be a very touchy subject. Depending on whom you are discussing it with, it has always come down to the “Who made you king of the world?” or “Is this right or wrong for the greater good?”
I think about the challenge of ethics often, probably more than I really should or need to. In my life timeI have had many debates and arguments, discussions and disagreements about all kinds of ethical issues. Be it agreeable to others or not, I enjoy the various points of view and the passion this topic evokes. Whether or not you have a strong opinion on a ‘standard of conduct’, or you really don’t care either way about how people “feel”, it comes down to the breadth and depth of how important ethics play in our lives and everyday social behavior.
Ethics can touch us in every part of our lives. There are business ethics, legal ethics and life ethics. People try to live by The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. All in all, good advice.
As fly fishermen, there is a code, an ethic model that we all SHOULD follow….How to be respectful to the fish, the environment and other fellow fishermen. Again, this is solely my take
I have featured a photo of a sign that is posted prominantly on the first big ‘pull out’ on the Frying Pan river, in my beautiful stomping grounds outside of Basalt, Colorado.
Giving thought to the message that the DOW is hopefully conveying, I expanded this list with my translations that can be brought from the river to your everyday life.
Fishing Ethics Brought to Life
*Use barbless hooks and a landing net Transl: Choose your words carefully, don’t be hurtful and handle with care.
*Land fish as quickly as possible. Don’t play it to exhaustion Transl: Be concise, be clear and do not labor your point. Brevity is the soul of wit…
*Keep the fish in the water as much as possible when handling and removing the fly or lure Transl: Understand that everyone will always thrive in their own environment when difficulty becomes present.
*Wet your hands before handling fish Transl: Understand that others should always be handled or treated with care, physically and emotionally.
*Remove the hook gently, trying not to squeeze the fish or put your fingers in its gills. If it is deeply hooked, cut the line. The hook will corrode or dislodge within a few days Transl: People will always get hurt. Take time, listen and help if you can. Remember that sometimes the best help is time and patience.
*Release fish after it has retained its equilibrium in quiet water Transl: Be thoughtful, be caring and not in haste. People and fish benefit greatly from a compassionate attention to detail.
Everyday I’m on the river, I pass that sign and wonder if the Department of Wildlife knew that they have also laid out a pretty decent list of ethics and philosophy for living a pretty decent life.
Next weeks blog will take on the gigantic task of how a Zen Buddhist justifies my love of catching fish.