I wrote a little bit about fishing last week, but with us in the heart of the summer fishing season I wanted to spend more time this week talking about a question that fishermen passing at the dock will ask: “what you fishin’ for?”

For the person coming off the lake, that question will either be preceded by or followed by the question “how did you do?”

Usually, the conversation turns awkward right about here.

The guy who has been fishing is most likely not inclined to share any meaningful information with the guy about shove off.

The guy going out doesn’t have any realistic expectation of getting any knowledge he can use to find the fish he’s looking for.

So, the fisherman starting his campaign goes back to his plan when he left the house that day, and the other is heading home to get the filet board out.

But let me divert the conversation back to one of our questions: “What ya’ fishin’ for?”

Generally, there are two types of fishing—sport fishing and pan fishing.

Sport fishing is for bigger fish like bass, walleye, muskie and pike.

When you set out to fish for those brands of fish, you understand that you will never anchor in one spot, you will cast your lure out hundreds of times, and you may not hook a single one the whole time you are out there.

You are using the technology in your boat to find patterns in the depth, weed cover and water temperature to point you in the right direction. Then you have to pick out the right lure and presentation to hook ‘em in the mouth.

For pan fish like bluegill and crappie, your approach is totally different.

You use technology in the same way you would for the sport fish, but when you find the marks on your screen that you are looking for, most of the time you drop an anchor—maybe both of them—and set your line’s depth with bait on the hook and drop it down.

You, who don’t fish, might ask, “which is better?”

The truth is, there is no right answer!

My family fishes to eat. We fish for bluegills and crappies because we want fish to bring home and eat.

Occasionally, a bass chasing the little ‘gills around your bait might run into your hook and give you a big challenge. Why? Because most of the time, the poles you use to catch sports fish are longer and thicker and poles for pan fish are shorter and thinner.

Let me explain it a different way. Imagine filling a paper bag from the grocery store with bricks and trying to pick it up without the bag breaking. That’s what it’s like.

Otherwise, you generally get what you fish for.

For the Grossmans, we like to fill our floating baskets with meaty bluegills and crappies. And then dip the filets in whipped eggs and crushed saltine crackers and sizzle ‘em up in a pan on the stove.

It’s also a terrific way to just chill out on a beautiful day. Sitting in a boat with your feet propped up on the sides can be very relaxing.

Or boring, if you are a sport fisherman.

Sport fisherman fish for fun. They generally return the fish they catch back to the water from which it came.

Their enjoyment comes not from the memories brought back to mind while eating the filets later, but simply by the memories of feeling the line pull back and the events that unfold in the next few seconds.

Their pleasure is in the hunting and the hooking.

While I prefer to anchor and fish for food, I totally understand the other approach and the joy people get from that.

Something else to keep in mind as you consider these philosophies:

If you have children, especially smaller ones, I highly recommend you take them pan fishing. You will find dealing with them in an anchored boat will go better than constantly being on the move. And younger kids like to see their bobber bouncing and a fish on the line below it.

You create a new generation of fisherman by doing that.

And no matter which form of fishing ultimately fits their fancy, passing fishing on to the next generation should always be the goal.