I'm going to focus here on freshwater fishing although there's nothing like fighting the bluefish, reeling in stripers (which we do sometimes on Sunday mornings right in the Royal River here in our small Maine town), or going way further out for haddock and some other good eating fish.
Now, as some of you know, I am a vegetarian (although I guess I'm really a flexitarian as I do still eat some seafood), I am strictly catch-and-release, and I've always tried to live by Christina Rossetti's admonition to "Hurt no living thing." Soooo, a few folks have asked me, isn't there some hint of hypocrisy in all those worms I drown? What can I say?
As I've mentioned before, I keep a worm bin. Raising worms, formally called "vermiculture," is invaluable for good gardening as well as fine fishing! My worm bin is a big old plasic tub that I fill with freshly-pulled weeds, some dirt still clinging to the roots, and any worms I come across as I garden. I start the worm bucket as early in the spring as I'm in the garden, and I keep it right through the end of fishing season, the last of September. Yes, I ice fish, but use different live bait for that.
The worm box has a top that's snug, but not air-tight. I check the box once a week or whenever I'm going fishing to be sure the worms still have fresh fodder to make their incredibly rich castings. Once or twice during the summer, I empty the box, sift the castings for use as potting soil, mulch or fertilizer, restock with weeds and dirt and put back about half of the worms. The other half of the worms I scatter in garden areas that need aereating or enriching. Now, I'm dreaming of one of those worm composters that I could keep right through the winter in our root cellar... hmmmmm...
Aside from any old-fashioned frugality of fishing, or the fun of the cast, the bite, the set and the catch, there is the wonderful peace of fishing, hearing the still, small voice of God in the morning mist at sunrise, and the call of the loons helping color a glorious sunset at the end of the day. What a blessing!