Vegan Fishing


The other day, the dog and I were going for a walk around a man-made lake. The weather was really nice, but I was still surprised to see no less than 15 people scattered around the edge of the lake, fishing. This particular lake didn’t strike me as much of a hotspot for fish (this is the same lake where I shot a set of photos featuring abandoned shopping carts), but it still got me thinking.

Fishing is one of those activities that’s viewed by many cultures as one of the most meditative, relaxing ones we can engage in. It forces us to slow down, be patient, and live in the moment. Unfortunately, it also means injuring or killing fish (yes, even if you throw them back). So, I got to thinking… is there any fish-friendly way to go fishing?

The act of feeding fish is harmless enough as long we’re careful about what we give them. But just tossing food into the water lacks the in-the-moment quality of sitting in a rowboat with a fishing pole in hand (I’m guessing here… I haven’t been fishing since I was a kid). So, would there be a way to take a standard fishing pole and replace the hook with something that can hold food while it sits in the water but not injure the fish when he tries to eat it? Do things like this already exist?

I’ll smile the first time I hear someone say, “I just fed a 7 1/2 pound perch!” rather than “I just caught a 7 1/2 pound perch! *”

* May be followed by “and it was the best moment of my presidency!”

6 Responses to “Vegan Fishing”

  1. B

    my favorite thing to do in asia was to join the buddhist monks in feeding koi fish in lotus ponds. did it almost daily. very meditative, watching the fish amble in and out of the light and shadow between the underwater vines, and getting to know individual fish by their markings and attitudes. nice. not sure how that would work with US fish and bodies of water tho.

  2. Jennifer Shmoo

    This is such a timely post! My son was just asking me if there was some way he could go fishing. There is a kids’ fishing pond and large river running through here, so fishing (and hunting) are big here. He was wondering if there was some way to attach food to a fishing rod “with clay or something” so the fish could eat it and not get hurt. Please let me know if you come up with anything!

  3. Ann O'nymous

    Just taking a regular fish hook and filing off the barb and dulling the end of the hook should work. If you put the food on carefully, it should stay on until the fish comes by but still come off easily when the fish bites at it.

  4. C

    I don’t think it would be worth your time to try and “feed” fish from a pole. I doubt you’d even know if a fish came by and took your bait. I go fishing all the time and my bait gets stolen without me even knowing. It would be more exciting to just throw the food in the water.

  5. TurbineB

    Vegan fishing response:
    Historical perspective: Fishing and hunting is a means of survival that has existed throughout human history for far, far longer than any ideas of choosing a meat or dairy-free diet or indeed an entire ‘philosophy’ of doing so. Without hunting and fishing, humans would not have survived – period. An interesting way to think of it might be to consider that hunters and fisherman have been so successful in helping the human race survive, they’ve afforded you the choice of a vegan or vegetarian diet, which has only been possible in a relatively recent span of time.
    Fishing and hunting, though not done for survival purposes by most in modern times, are still widely enjoyed, cultural/traditional practices that humans enjoy. Laws govern certain practices as permitted or not based upon the science supporting the activity. I do not hunt, but I fish regularly and possess several fishing licenses over several states – which totals quite a lot of money, much of which is used to support the management of the fisheries (habitat improvement, breeding programs, etc.). When I fish, I am legally exercising a privilege granted by a valid license.
    If you choose not to consume animal products, great. I’m not confronting you in public and asking you to consider how ridiculous you’re being in choosing a diet which is essentially a modern-day whim vs. something ‘natural’ and which should be adopted by everyone. Keep this in mind when you decide to approach a total stranger who is fishing, and doing absolutely nothing wrong aside from not comforming to your personal life philosophy. Out of curiosity, do you feed your cats a vegan diet? Do you permit your pets to access the outdoors where they may kill other wildlife? Do you approach your grocer and ask them “why they are hurting so many animals” in their meat/dairy section? Do you approach people farming pastures and ask these questions?
    Personally, I would be so annoyed by someone like you bothering me, asking these questions I would purposely throw hooked-fish onto the bank to dry in the sun (which is legal, and in accordance with non-game fish regulations in VA) out of spite even though I primarily fly fish and practice catch-and-release for virtually everything.

    Since most of your comments appear to be in support of veganism, I don’t know whether this response will be posted or filtered out.

    I have no idea where you are on the vegan-insanity scale (1-10), which may preclude you from even entertaining ideas beyond “don’t hurt animals” but here’s at least one for you.


  6. Haydo

    TurbineB, Cool story bro.

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