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Urban Fishing
Photo: Angel Fragallo
One usually doesn’t associate fishing for striped bass and bluefish with the urban experience. However, if you believe this, you better adjust your perception.

The Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fishing License Report for 2004 estimates that more than 34 million adults in the USA went fishing that year. A survey commissioned by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) found that 72% of them live in urban areas.

According to an article in the September 8, 2006, USA Today, fishing is taking place in cities across the United States. The article says the RBFF Web site, www.takemefishing.org, “identifies the best urban fishing sites in each state and refers fishermen to a recent Field and Stream article listing the best American cities to fish. Miami came out on top, followed by San Diego, Minneapolis, Seattle, and New Orleans.”

The article highlights fishing stories from the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Sacramento. Fishing folk in the D.C. area and New York emphasize that cleaning up the Potomac, Hudson, and East rivers has contributed to the increase in the number of urbanites fishing those areas.

Sponsor of Fishing Trips

More than a decade ago while working at a private secondary school within a mile of the border of Washington, D.C., I was asked to be the female sponsor of fishing trips. My skepticism about the soundness of this idea melted when the sign-up sheet filled rapidly. I treasure those outings for the whole new way that I learned about the nation’s capitol, an area in which I had grown up.

Recently I heard about a youth group that went fishing in the D.C. area, with the enthusiasm and number of participants mirroring my experience. As I reflect on the seemingly surprising passion that urban residents have for this sport, I think that fishing taps into the desire to slow down.

Nonstop bustle surrounds city dwellers. Upon dropping a line into a river or other body of water, a person commits to standing still while focusing on the fishing line. Life slows down immediately. The tranquility of the moment is increased with the fresh air, bird songs, and gentle breezes. Even if jets thunder above one, such as along the Potomac River near the Reagan Washington National Airport, one is removed from the rush of daily routine.

Fishing—just another way to experience city life.

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