Monday, January 3, 2011

Fishing Presidents: Herbert Hoover

The Declaration of Independence tells us that “all men were created equal.” President Herbert Hoover, perhaps our country’s most dedicated fisherman, once said “All men are equal before fish."

What does it all mean? It means that U.S. presidents are like you and me when they are fishing. Just average Joe and Josephine with a fishing rod in their hands.

The only difference? You’re not going to be honored by Outdoors 720 on Mondays leading up to Presidents Day 2011, like a few past presidents. First off, Herbert Hoover:

 Herbert Hoover fly-fishing at Brown's Camp, Calif., in August 1928.
Photo courtesy of the Hoover Library.
Herbert Hoover was a dedicated fisherman, no doubt. He even wrote a book about fishing: "Fishing for Fun -- And to Wash Your Soul." He wasn't the first fishing president nor the last, but he probably produced more fishing sayings than any other president.

Such as:

“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.”

“Next to prayer, fishing is the most personal relationship of man.”

“Fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air. It brings meekness and inspiration, reduces our egoism, soothes our troubles and shames our wickedness. It is discipline in the equality of men -- for all men are equal before fish.”

“Lots of people committed crimes during the year who would not have done so if they had been fishing. The increase of crime is among those deprived of the regenerations that impregnate the mind and character of the fisherman.”

“There are only two occasions when Americans respect privacy, especially in Presidents. Those are prayer and fishing.”

So, yes, Hoover took his fishing seriously. And did you catch his solution for crime? Put a fishing rod in the hands of a criminal and today’s society would be so much better off.

Touche, Herbert.

Next week: President Franklin D. Roosevelt

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