My father never caught a fish. Oh, he might have caught the occasional trout or a tiny sunfish, but that's not why he fished.
When I was fourteen, someone gave me a Milton Bradley jigsaw puzzle called “Trout Fishing”. It was a 1000 piece puzzle, all of them dark mottled brown, blue and green. It took us six weeks to put it together, and the faint form of a fisherman emerged amidst a jumble of leaves, twigs and water. I imagine my father as that fisher, wading into a good trout stream, dangling a lure, lost in thought. No fish would keep him company, but his ideal companions were there: twittering birds, rushing streamlets, wind-tossed greenery – to help him relax and think.
We never knew what he thought about while fishing, but he had so many interests – science experiments, amateur math, his law cases, classical music, patterns to work into ceramic designs, and so on, and so on – it seemed he could easily keep occupied if the fish left him alone.
The best part for him came afterwards: arriving home, opening his empty creel, and proclaiming himself the unluckiest fisherman of all.