I think one of the reasons I like to fish is because I don't like a lot of people, not by much I don't. And by that I mean that I like a small handful of people. Some days I don't like them either. Hell, some months I don't like them.
And yet I like fishermen (and women readers, the masculine is being used for convenience of writing only) almost every time. I've never had to reverse my opinion on a fisherman either - and that's something I can do with a non-fisherman, and do it on a dime and give you a eight cents change to boot.
Like all of us in this new aged fast paced and dizzyfying world, I "meet" a lot of people on line. And when I find out they fish, I immediately give them all the benefits of all the doubts. I don't read their posts without understanding of their inflection, not the way I do non-fisherman's posts. I just don't do that for the average type human person. My facebook account has something closing in on about 2,500 "friends" - and I'd bet that 90% of them have a profile photo of themselves holding a fish. A lot of them don't speak English, they are all over the world - we get by with the fb translator. Did you know there are bass fishing clubs in Italy? For the same species of LM Bass we fish for? Pretty cool, huh?
We fishermen, we belong to a brotherhood. An international brotherhood. A brotherhood is much more tightly knit than a club, or a group of people with common interests. Those kinds of congregations are a dime a dozen. But a brotherhood, there's a bond between us, a strong bond. I don't like to travel, but I have been known to travel to meet and fish with a fellow fisherman - even to the point of staying overnight in a motel. A motel that is probably crawling with bed bugs and don't even think of turning on a black light - that's how strong the bond is, that it can get me to step foot in one of those disease holes. But while my feelings about motels is another story, it does serve to illustrate that bond between people that have never met.
I guess this isn't 100% true, there may be some bad people that fish, somewhere, although I do not recall a single one. And fishermen can certainly get on each other's nerves from time to time - a prime example of which is to get too close to someone fishing and crowd them. That can get you a look or two, maybe even a word or two. Betcha though the aggrieved fisherman will still be polite about it. Stepping on one of Dave's fly rods can get you a look too...
By and large though, ignoring those minor family type issues, we are a brotherhood that is probably bigger than any other. By official count there are 50 million of us in the USA alone. In spite of those huge numbers we understand each other in a visceral way. Watch another fisherman lose a nice fish and your gut hurts, you don't just feel bad for him, you feel bad physically. See a man out fishing with his children and you smile with a father's pride yourself. Find a fisherman in a boat that has "failed to proceed" and you don't leave him in a lurch, you help. When the weather is too bad to allow fishing you know why that fella over there by the windows is pacing back and forth.
We know what a fisherman feels. We know what he aspires to. We know what he wants. Because he is us and we are him. And ain't this a grand place to get together with other fishermen without having to leave the house! You guys and ladies are all part of the brotherhood, close friends of mine.