Caught: How Angling Captured My Soul

There are things that we are introduced to in life that silently slip into our souls. We are completely oblivious. It often happens in our childhood. Sometimes they capture us right away, and sometimes they lie dormant within us for years – waiting. Then one day they haunt us and pursue us, until we are lured back to them because they are a part of us. Oftentimes we are captured at a time in our life when we need it the most.

Scientists have discovered that there is a connection between memory and emotion. It is not just our attention to the experience, but the emotional connection. I have discovered this not only in my own life, but in the lives of others. Sometimes they are things passed down from generation to generation. For me, the thing that captured my soul is fishing, or angling as it is also called. Perhaps that may seem unusual being that I am female. It is true that angling is a male-dominated sport. Only 29 percent of anglers today are women. I notice I am often the minority when I am on a fishing trip. However, more and more women are taking up the sport. Thankfully I was never taught it was a man’s sport. I am proud to be a female angler.

Women Anglers

“When I was a child my family spent a week at a time every summer in Canada fishing. I always wished we could be a normal family and camp out at a nice campground with a nice beach -no, not us. My father was in it for the fishing and we roughed it. We camped far from civilization, down a long dirt road, and set up camp at a logging truck rest-stop. We fished all day, and most evenings. We fished in the heat, cold and rain. The men dragged the boats in through the river to the lake, and mom, grandma and I hiked a mile through the woods to meet up with them. Coming back after dark was a bit scary, and we would sing songs to scare away the bears. I know now it was those trips that must have captured my soul. Many years went by that I did not fish. I lost interest in my teen years. Then after high school I moved away for ten years. During those years when I was far away from home, a crazy thing happened. I began to have dreams that I was fishing! Those dreams never went away until I moved back home and began to fish again. Fishing is not just my hobby, it is one of my passions, especially ice fishing. I am not sure why it has become such a part of me. I do know that it has changed my life. Through fishing and the adventure it brings, I have found healing time and time again. I have pushed through countless fears. I wish I could share that same experience with others. Through our adventures we have met some very special people along the way. People you know you were meant to meet. I am not sure what happened to me this weekend, but something happened. I feel there is more to this fishing thing. Not sure what that is, but I feel challenged to take it to another level. Maybe someday I can find a way to use it to help others. “

Something happened to me on that trip.

I wrote the above paragraph as a post on social media upon returning from a trip to the Northwest Angle, in January of this year. Something happened to me on that trip. I was officially seized by this thing called fishing, or angling in my life. One of my friends who read it commented on my post that, ‘we remember what we feel’. Another friend commented, ‘fishing is a part of what defines you and it is a connection that runs deep’. Fishing is a part of what defines me, however crazy that may seem. And yes, the connection runs deep. It is in my blood. It is as much a part of me as my green eyes and the color of my hair. I fish like my father and grandfather before me. It is a part of my heritage. It is something that has been passed down from generation to generation unknowingly, a legacy. All those years that I had those dreams, I was remembering what I felt in the past. My mother said that I always complained about going on those trips. I really don’t remember. I have very few actual memories of being in the boat. Yet, there must have been something emotionally that ran deep, because it ended up capturing my soul.

Angling is not just a pastime for me, but a passion. It has taught me courage and confidence through the adventure surrounding it. Traveling by snowmobile and fishing through extreme weather can be a challenge at times. It is a healthy way of coping with stress and releasing negative energy. When that big fish hits your bait and your rod tip bends, it is a guaranteed adrenaline rush. You never stop trying to chase an even bigger fish! It is also meditative. It is like being transported into another world. Through the solitude and being in the midst of nature, it brings peace. It is not just about the fish. It is also about the sunsets and sunrises, and being on the water. It teaches you patience, to try new things, and to expect the unexpected. Angling for me is also about community and relationships. I have made so many new friends that share my passion and that have inspired me to learn and grow in it. This past winter I met other female anglers and have joined a women’s angling group. They support and educate one another by teaching everything from trolling techniques to trailering boats. It is amazing how the thing that captured my soul has changed my life.

I am not the best angler, but I love it more than most people I know.

In May of this year, I was honored to have been offered a position with the leading company in ice fishing gear. I am a part of their promotional pro-staff team. I never would have ever imagined being a part of something like that! I am not a great angler. I am not the best. However, I love it more than most people I know. It will be my mission and goal to share my passion for angling with others, especially women and girls. Angling is something that I want to pass down to my daughters, also the beauty of nature and the restorative qualities that accompanies it. I think it is important that my children find that one thing that changes them. It doesn’t have to be fishing. It could be a number of things, because I have introduced them to several things. The important thing is that they have memories, and that someday they will remember what they feel.

What is the thing in your life that has captured your soul?

‘Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after’ – Henry David Thoreau

Jody Rae Anderson

My name is Jody Rae Anderson and I live in what is known as "The Cold Spot" in northern Minnesota. I am a newlywed, after being a divorced single mom for eight years. I have two gorgeous girls. As a former military wife, I am an adventurer at heart and find it hard to settle down, even in my career. I am a Human Resources Manager by day, and will soon be a post-trauma recovery coach by night. I am known for my love affair with coffee, and I am a hoarder of books. The word bored is not in my vocabulary. I love the wild, rugged outdoors, but will jump at the chance to put on sparkles, a dress, and high heels. I am happiest though when I am either kayaking or traveling by snowmobile across frozen lakes and pulling fish through holes in the ice. My husband and I got married in January on the ice. I am a writer, a wannabe photographer, and recently became an educator to people on sexual assault and PTSD. I am a master at sowing seeds of hope. I have learned that despite tragedy or hardships that may come our way, through hope we can love this beautiful life.

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