Something I occassionally ponder

Context to my question…through my fishing career, I have found a generalized correlation between the type of fishing and the general respect towards fish, both within the type of fishing and myself. For example, when I started off with gear fishing at a younger age, the industry and advertisements seem quite aggressive and almost viewed fish as a disposal resource. Catch phrases like “lip rippers”, throwing fish around, barbed hooks, etc, as felt like a general disregard. As I moved into fly fishing, I began to view and respect fish differently, influenced by barbless hooks, catch and release practices, focus on the beauty of fish. This respect for fish seemed to have only increased through my involvement with Tenkara and through people that exist in this forum and other places.
Tenkara has assisted with allowing me to connect with nature, and thus fish, more intimately, I have grown more respectful and cautious of trout, having a reverence to their beauty and resilience (it always amazes me about the process of what it took for a trout to get to and survive in some of the streams I have fished). That is partially why I was a bit nasty around the Tenkara and Uni-cycle video, especially the part when he commented that the trout was so beautiful and proof it was God’s creation, but then just threw it.
Question… as some of you have gone down a similar path through Tenkara, have you ever got to a point where your reverence for the trout ever caused you to question whether you should even fish or not? Have you ever come close to saying to yourself, “out of respect for this beautiful, delicate creature, it is best that I do not fish at all”?

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Some years back, I knew a gentleman who had the most amazing and beautiful bird dogs. At the time I didn’t understand why he embraced, and contractually (for puppies he sold) insisted on no kill bird hunting, which he called dry hunting.
He loved just going out and watching his dogs joyously find and point coveys of quail, but had reached a point where he just could not bear to kill any more.
Now these many years later, I understand him, and the question you ponder.
Not only do I not ever keep a fish, I’m happiest when they come off before I have to net them, and refuse to handle one long enough to quickly snap a picture.
Sometimes I think about tying flies on hooks that have no actual hook…
At this point, I enjoy being in the beautiful places in the Sierra Nevada mountains where I fish as much as I do catching fish.

I think this is all a part of natural progression.
As an angler moves from meat motivation to having a more intimate connection to nature.

Fly fishing is a more intimate connection, and if you seek it, you are more likely to have the sensitivity to the natural world and your impact.

But not all fly fisherman are intimate with nature. If I had to guess…20% which might be intimate with nature, low but still probably higher than other disciplines. I have seen enough flyfishing anglers abuse fish, dump trash, and just are complete slobs. I could not believe my first outing to a major river in the catskills was so littered with trash and tippet. Horrible.

Not just anglers, but in this age a very great number of people do not have any connection to nature.
Moreover, that disconnect sometimes extends to not really having any connection to other human beings as well.
I won’t dwell upon this, or those people, but rather simply focus upon my maintaining and cherishing my own sense of connection.
Fly fishing, and tenkara fishing in particular, are a goodly part of that.
I do though feel a little sorry for those who do not have that in their lives.

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Little to no first hand connection to nature: woods, streams, and the creature in them, is a growing problem. Too many push environmental laws, with no first hand knowledge of nature. You can find online studies of how far children roamed from home has declined every decade for the over the last 50 years or so. From roaming up to about six miles from home years ago to rarely leaving their own yard. If going outside at all. Which often carries into adulthood.

Anyway, over the years involved with tenkara I have read occasional post by people who believe C&R was cruel to fish, because for them it’s a traumatic experience, a struggle for life, (while for you it’s only sport) and one should only catch an keep. And fish less often.

Probably the only times I take that attitude is when fishing favorite spots, and I think - I have caught this same fish four or more times. I should leave the fish in this location in peace. They’ve been put through a stressful experience enough times already, and should be left to mature and make many new generations for the future.

[ I have read studies that claim even with good C&R practice, the released fish will often have stunted growth, or may fail to reproduce. I’ve not decided if I believe they know what they’re talking about. However, I think that outcome is probably accurate following poor C&R handling]