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In my study for the Fishers of Men series I came across an essay written by A. J. McClane called, “The Song of the Angler.” In this essay he examines why fishermen fish.

1. People fish for each others company, for the fellowship. Able to share in a common activity. People fish for the friendships.

2. Psychologists tell us that one reason why we enjoy fishing is because it is an escape. McClane says that it is an escape to reality. The sense of freedom that we enjoy in the outdoors is, after all, a normal reaction to a more rational environment.

3. He gives all of these explanations but this is the one I want us to focus on. Fishers fish to enjoy the music and the songs. Not ones that they sing but the song that arises from nature. He illustrates this with the story of Lord Fraser. McClane says, “Lord Fraser of Lonsdale is a friend of mine. He is a skilled fly-fisherman, and when last we visited together, he caught a 35 pound salmon which was the biggest in the camp for many weeks. What’s more I have heard him spellbind a roomful of strangers with tales of his life in South Africa. What does this matter? Well, Lord Fraser is totally blind. Both of his eyes were shot out in WW1. A profoundly intellectual man, Fraser has developed his others senses to a point that most of the people who sat with him that night had no idea that he was unable to see them. I don’t know if you have every tried wading (unaided) and fly-fishing a stream while blindfolded. I cannot do it, and I would probably lack the guts if I had to do it. Lord Fraser is the chairman of the board of a powerful retail business in England. His work is demanding and he enjoys going fishing to catch fish yes, but also to enjoy the song of the angler. He enjoys hearing all of the things around him: the changing tempos of deep and shallow water, the curling smack of a rapid against a bolder, even the roll or rise of a fish. His ear for the music of angling is incredibly keen.

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