The sun glints off the water, shimmering across the rippling surface. With a whirr, the fisher sends a blue bait flying through the air, which lands with a soft plop in the water. Methodically twitching the pole to the side and reeling in the bait, the fisher waits in near silence. The only audible sounds are those of the pole and the birds up above.

Life is like fishing — you wait for the right opportunity to come, and then you take it if you can. However, Paly’s student fishers do much more than just idly loiter. For them, fishing is a means for escape, a lesson of patience and a chance to socialize. Going to locations ranging from our local Baylands to Truckee, Paly’s fishers tell us about their experiences fishing.


“It’s a thrill every time to feel a bite at the end of the line.”

— NATHAN KIM, junior


Reeled into the hobby

For junior Charlie Williams, fishing alongside his older brother Dylan allows them to strengthen their relationship. Junior Vaughn Doerr attributes his interest in the pastime to his father, who introduced him to it when he was about seven years old. Since then, he has moved on to going with friends from both Paly and Gunn.

“[Fishing] increases the bonds with my best friends,” he says.

Others were introduced to fishing through their friends. Junior Seattle Hmelar, for example, only fished occasionally before he met Williams. Now the two fish together regularly, and through going with Williams, Hmelar met many of Williams’ friends.

The tip top

When junior Nathan Kim first went fishing, he was clueless as to what to do, and had no one to guide him.

“[I] spent half the day sitting on a rock, praying for a fish to bite,” he says. “It can be quite discouraging to go a few hours without so much as a nibble,” he says.

Kim says fishing has helped him build character. For Doerr, fishing has made him care more about protecting the environment.


“There is no failure, just patience.”

SEATTLE HMELAR, junior


“Fishing has taught me to be more conscious about all the negative effects that humans make on the environment,” Doerr says. He also says fishing has taught him life lessons.

“It has taught me to be more patient, adventurous, creative, and that the early bird gets the worm,” Doerr says.

Meanwhile, Hmelar credits his newfound patience and perseverance to angling. “There is no failure, just patience,” he says about the long periods of time that sometimes pass where he catches nothing.

Students have also learned technical skills, such as how to catch hiding fish, target good locations and maneuver bait, as well as cast heavy nets.

“It’s definitely difficult — the … net weighs around 20 pounds, and you have to throw it over and over as hard and far as possible,” says sophomore Ilan Toussieh, who does cast net fishing. “Sometimes you will hook something big like a swordfish and the fight can last hours.”

An al-lure-ing pastime

According to Kim, the patience the sport requires is well worth the satisfaction.

“It’s a thrill every time to feel a bite at the end of the line and know that all the time and thought you put into traveling out to the spot, picking a good place and the right lures paid off,” Kim says.

Doerr says the hobby has given him a chance to recover from the stress of homework and tests.

“I get to be in nature and the outdoors,” Doerr says, “It reduces stress … and it offers an escape from the nonsense of modern living. “Fishing has helped me to view academics and my life at a different angle.”