I Used to Call It “Fishing”

by Dan Maio

I used to trick animals onto sharpened hooks. Sometimes I’d use two or three just to make sure they couldn’t get away. The hooks would cut their mouths open, more often than you’d think, hook them somewhere on the face, even in the eyes.  I didn’t do it to eat.  In no way if I didn’t do it would I not survive.  Like millions of others, I did it for ‘fun’.

Once the animal realized what was going on, they would literally run for their lives. As hard as they could, they’d try to break free. This is what made it soooo fun..

I called it ‘Fishing.’ We all called it ‘Fishing.’  Most people I knew who did it, didn’t eat what they caught, they’d call that ‘Catch and Release’. I guess that made us all feel better. We were trapping animals, scaring the absolute shit out of them and in the process cutting them up real bad. Once the animal was retrieved, we’d say “Cool mate, I want a bigger one” and throw its bleeding body back where we stole it from. We were doing it for fun. And that’s pretty bad.

Here is a photo of me in Perth a few years ago. I’m holding an animal that can only breath underwater, but it was photo time, so it had to wait. Little buddy fought for its life for a good few minutes and would have been absolutely worn out, but look at the smile on my face! Once photo time was up, I practiced ‘Catch and Release’ and threw it back. Little buddy hit the rock face on the way down (Happens all the time) S’all good, just laugh it off “he’ll be alright”. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if it survived.


What I’ve described ‘IS’ fishing and It breaks my heart that I used to be involved.  This beautiful animal flicked a switch for me.  I didn’t deserve a moment of its time. I was an asshole.

Don’t destroy someone else’s day to better your own.”

Something else I believe played a huge role in change was a snorkeling trip that same week. To this day, probably one of the best experiences of my life. Fish swam towards me if they wanted to. Fish swam away from me if they wanted to. But the fish swam with me and we swam together. It was a million times better than fishing ever was.

One of the weirdest situations I find myself in now is having knowledge of ‘Fishing’ but not wanting to share it… Having all this gear but not being able to sell it. To me, its kind of like selling a young kid a knife.

To tell you the truth, I don’t really think I had a choice but to stop.  I started to feel terrible about my actions, and it made me so uncomfortable.  Feeling that way all the time was the worst and there was only one way to stop it.

One thing lead to another as it does, and ‘Fishing’ was the first of many things I’ve since cut out of my life.

And it’s good.