Your post about Vladimir Putin fishing prompted me to recall other instances of politicians fishing. On numerous previous instances, politicians have conducted photo opportunities during which they fished to demonstrate their ability to leave the pressures of office behind. The act of subjecting a fish to a painful and protracted death has come to be regarded as an act of relaxation.
Lech Walesa, when he was leader of the Solidarity labour movement in Poland, allowed himself to be filmed fishing, and stated that he was getting away from the incessant demands of leading a movement that challenged the Communist regime.
President George H.W. Bush demonstrated fly fishing techniques to a group of school children. President George W. Bush allowed photographers on several of his fishing outings in order to demonstrate his ability to leave the problems of state behind.
V-P Dick Cheney frequently allowed himself and his buddies to be photographed fishing.
Up here in Canada, politicians have frequently staged fishing photo
opportunities to establish their "ordinary guy" credentials: Bob Rae, a now retired member of parliament, spent an afternoon fishing with comedian Rick Mercer for a television program; Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto bragged about fishing with Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Preston Manning, when leader of the Reform party, released a picture of himself and others standing by a float plane at the conclusion of a fishing expedition.
In general, the expression "gone fishing" is a statement of relaxation and the revocation of life's stresses following retirement.
Ironically enough, at the same time your email arrived about Vladimir Putin fishing, another email arrived showing the pastor of our church - for whom I have the greatest of respect - brandishing for the camera two small fish that he had killed that morning. The ugly image was disturbing, and contradicted (to my mind, at least) the message of finding peace with God that he so effectively conveys in his sermons.
Sadly, the killing of fish - more so than land animals - has come to symbolize the virtue of necessary release of burdens, and is deeply ingrained within this culture.