All Men Are Equal Before Fish

“To go fishing is the chance to wash one's soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men - for all men are equal before fish.”

Interestingly, these wise words came from the mouth of our 31st President, Herbert Hoover.* His description of fishing contains key ingredients for health of body, mind, and spirit—fresh air, nature, practicing patience, leaving behind the stresses of life, quiet time to seek peace and God, and discipline in the equality of men. If only we could be as egalitarian as the fish!

My hope is that fishermen and all of us who appreciate the incredible natural world will find clarity by washing our souls “with pure air.” This will help us to see other people and our earth more clearly—and be more likely to treat every living being and our precious planet with more respect.

Let me add the important proviso that I am only talking about humane and sustainable fishing.


  1. Consider joining the Sierra Club or checking out its web site for ideas on how to take action.

  2. We all have prejudices and biases, some deeply buried in our unconscious. The fish don’t have to deal with implicit bias like we do. But with honest effort we can all learn to be more like the fish, seeing all men and women as equals, regardless of color, background or beliefs. Learn more at Project Implicit and check out the implicit bias self-assessment test you can take.

God bless all of you and my best wishes for a holy and happy Christmas.


*Herbert Hoover (1946). “Addresses Upon the Road: World War II, 1941-1945”