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Tuesday, September 1, 2009
United we fish

By Dave Landahl
ESPNOutdoors.com

There are a lot of things in life that can cause a vast divide, but as the great Thomas Jefferson once said, "All men are created equal." Is that so?

Over the years, I have been an advocate for recreational angling, the conservation benefits it provides and the spiritual awakening it can offer an individual to truly become one with God's creation.

In all this time, I have overlooked what makes us all truly equal, the playing field that is our local lake, river, pond or ocean shoreline.

Fish don't care whether you are black or white, if you speak Chinese or French Canadian, if you are tall or short, if you are a Catholic or a Jew, or if you vote Republican or Democrat.

Sure, there could be a difference in the gear you have. One guy may be able to afford the $1,000 Steez combo while another opts for the Bass Pro Shops discount bin set up, but the fish don't care. They bite regardless. And when they do, the thrill on the other end of the line is the same for everybody.

Motorcyclists have a special, low wave they reserve for every motorcyclist they encounter on the road. Jeep drivers have their own "Jeep Thing."

Anglers have it too, but it's more than a mere acknowledgement of the other's existence.

Our wave is filled with the spirit of generations of anglers before us. It is filled with hope that we will do well today and that you do, too. It can be peppered with great conversations that includes such phrases as, How did you do today?, and What are you catchin' 'em on? Small talk may be a dreaded party requirement, but on the water, it is what brings us together. The lines are blurred when the focus turns to fishing.

I've even had exchanges with guys on the water who didn't speak the same language as me. That didn't stop them from showing off their giant catfish. My big grin was enough conversation for them.

Now think about it. Have you ever had that type of welcome greeting when you are on your way to work during rush hour?

I know the variety of greetings I get, and sometimes give in heavy traffic; they ain't friendly waves. If only we all traveled to work via canal or river, we would share pleasantries with each other and heck, we would even pray for traffic jams so we have an extra minute to wet a line.

We can heal many divides by trusting in fishing, family and whatever God you pray to. In fishing I trust, how about you?

Dave and Kristin Landahl host The Fishing Fanatics, www.TheFishingFanatics.com, radio show on ESPN radio affiliate AM 1360 WLBK in northern Illinois Thursday evenings from 6-7 PM Central time. You can also tune in to hear The Fishing Fanatics at www.1360wlbk.com and check them out at www.walleyecentral.com