My dog is giving me a dirty look. It’s a look I’ve seen lots of times before. I used to think it was selfish of him, but I’ve since decided that he’s really just looking out for my best interests. That his desired outcome from said look is of benefit to him too is irrelevant; it’s me he’s looking out for. Good dog!

“The look” occurs after several hours of me pecking away on this very keyboard, and it means that it’s time to take him for a swim for both his sanity and, as I’ve more recently discovered, mine as well. Those that know me will confirm that discipline is not my strong suit, especially when it comes to the business side of my fishing business. I’ve been known to let my mind wander to waters near and far rather than, say, well, almost anything related to actual business. Taking the dog for a dunk seems enough like productivity (after all, he does need to be walked, right? I mean, I don’t want to be a crappy dog owner) to justify my work break without feeling like giving in to my nagging tendency to do anything other than stare at a computer.

Since swimming involves water and water contains fish, what’s an angler to do but fish a little while the dog’s cooling down, right? Seems reasonable to me. Or so I tell myself as I’m grabbing a rod and walking down to the lake.

The point of this whole exercise, besides to justify my slackerness, is that fishing is a great way to re-energize your mind, refocus your thoughts, and generally get a good attitude about things. Catching yet another fish is not the point; fresh air, watching the dog enjoy a dip, and taking a moment out of your day to do something you love – well, now you’re talkin’.

In fact, sometimes I don’t fish at all. Instead I just walk around the lake, observing the conditions and deciding how I would catch a fish if I was motivated enough to do so. The fact that I can be unmotivated enough to not actually fish should tell you something about me, but let’s not digress.

In all seriousness, taking time out of your day to make even a few casts at a local pond or stream can bring you the kind of healthy pleasure that no amount of money can buy. And you’re in luck if you live and work anywhere you can do so with minimal effort. Between all the neighborhood ponds, water storage reservoirs, and the fact that many major western towns were settled along rivers, many anglers can easily get his or her fish on without any serious level of commitment. Incidentally, that aspect is important because commitment isn’t my strong suit either. But again, let’s not digress.

An important part of this concept is the “just do it” part. Don’t try to justify or rationalize why you should or should not go fish for a few minutes out of your day; you do not need any reason to protect your sanity. You are at your best personally and professionally when your mind is right, and if you are an outdoorsmen deep down inside, then being involved in the outdoors is what gets your mind there.

Another key aspect of this is to keep it simple; don’t try to go catch whales or solve a major fishing equation. Just go fish with your favorite tackle. My dog walks always include my finesse jig rod (a 6’10” St Croix spinning rod in medium-light power, Abu Garcia Revo STX reel, 6# Trilene Fluoro and a 1/8 oz jighead tipped with a 3” Powerbait MaxScent Flatnose Minnow, in case you’re wondering what I finesse jig with) because I love to fish with it and I know I’m in the hunt on any given day. The only variable I even consider is how exactly I’m casting and working the jig. These are not meant to be “fishing trips”, these are more about “me time”, so make it easy on yourself. I will say this though; make sure when you keep it simple that you do indeed put yourself in position to have a strong possibility to catch something, even though catching something isn’t the important part. If you keep it so simple that you know deep inside that you have no chance at catching something, your mind won’t fall for the trick and you might as well of just gone for a walk or something.

To some folks, happy hour at the local watering hole involves half price beverages and a noisy bar; to an angler it can be a short stop on a quiet river bank. A “power lunch” can mean tossing a 7” Powerworm to a mid-day shady spot on the pond, and morning meetings can involve panfish. In all instances, your mindset will be better off for it. Geez, you might even get a short walk in too.

Labrador Retrievers are known for their aloofness; it’s part of their charm. I say get a clue from the dog. Take a break from your work to satisfy your inner angler. At the end of the day you will have been more productive after all, I promise. I know its true because I learned it from the dog.