The 4th of July is a time to celebrate our nation’s history and heritage. It may not be perfect, but we at Huk think the USA is the best country on the Earth.
We’re a country of outdoor adventurers and anglers, so it makes sense that many of the men who became U.S. President were also fishermen. Let’s take a look at some of the most avid anglers to ever lead the free world.
While history has styled our nation’s first president as a revered public figure, he was also one of the finest outdoorsmen of his time, and this included his passion for fishing. Washington’s home of Mt. Vernon was near the prime waters on the Potomac River and he even endeavored into commercial fishing. There are also stories that George Washington used fishing to settle disputes between his fellow founding fathers, or that he took three fishing breaks during the Constitutional Convention. By all accounts, he was a competent survivalist, fantastic horseback rider, and a passionate fisherman.
The principle author of the Declaration of Independence, first Secretary of State, and third U.S. President isn’t remembered for casting a line, but he was arguably the most knowledgeable and educated naturalist to ever sit in the oval office. The continent’s flora and fauna fascinated him, and when he sent out the Lewis and Clark expedition, one of their major assignments was to document plants, animals, and fish. Much to Jefferson’s delight, the team brought back notes and sketches on all types of natural resources, including fish like eulachon, salmon, and numerous other species.
Jump all the way to the late 19th century, and you have Grover Cleveland, the only man to hold the presidential office for two non-consecutive terms. He was a large, stout man, so you wouldn’t have looked at him as a natural woodsman, but he spent a lot of time camping, hunting deer, and fishing. He was an avid reader, spending much of his free time learning about the habits and traits of fish, and he was such a passionate angler that the press often lambasted him for spending too much time on the water and not enough time in the office.
From the small Iowa streams near his boyhood home to coastal fishing off the Florida Keys, Herbert Hoover knew the value of a day on the water. President Hoover had a getaway on the Rapidan River in Virginia, which is now a national landmark, and wrote a book titled Fishing For Fun - And To Wash Your Soul. While history has not looked kindly on Hoover’s presidency, anglers from all over the country can appreciate the priority he put on natural conservation. Fishing was such a large part of Hoover’s life that his statue inside the Herbert Hoover Library and Museum doesn’t have him in a presidential suit, but fully decked-out in fly-fishing apparel.
He was one of our nation’s greatest generals, the 34th U.S. President, and a passionate outdoorsman. He especially loved fly-casting. Knowing this, people from all over the world would send him fishing equipment, including rods, reels, and flies. Like most busy people who love the sport, he fished for the peaceful, mind-clearing relaxation. He would fish near Camp David, at a friend’s ranch in Colorado, and even in Argentina on international trips. He enjoyed camping, shooting, and fishing, because they all gave him a chance to focus on something other than war and politics.
Growing up in Georgia, Jimmie Carter learned the value of fishing from an early age. He enjoyed fishing for bass, Appalachian trout, and other species that can be found in the lakes and rivers of southeastern U.S. He fished extensively in his home state, but his fishing adventures also took him to Idaho, Virginia, Wyoming, and the Mississippi River. He was even familiar with fishing in the Gulf Coast, making him one of the most well rounded anglers to ever hold the U.S. presidency.
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