The Mini Refresher: “I know in my heart fly fishing is something I can learn in a lifetime. There’s a secret out there, a code I know nothing about–yet. Someday I’ll get to the point when I can slice a line through the air as quietly and involuntary as the act of breathing. Someday I will perform art on the riverbanks…….Someday, I will call myself a fly fisherman.” (first time I ever went fly fishing)
The Question: “How different do you think you are now from the person you described then? Are you performing art yet?” asked in the comments by Clif who writes the blog LunkerHunt
The Answer: Code…..the secret, that elusive feeling I wanted so badly all those years ago has indeed settled comfortably into my way of life. What I didn’t realize back then was that fly fishing and all it’s possible meanings is about individual definition rather than a general consensus.
I may be a member of the ‘club’ now, but my reasons, my observations, my levels of accompliment are seperate from the whole. It took time, but I eventually understood that I was writing my own code, creating my own secrets.
I spent the first few years of my learning phase safely tucked in my Fly Fishing Mentors creel. Through him, I learned the basic lessons, the little details that have become my second nature on the water. The days of casting with a precursery prayer of hope or the exclamation of thankfulness at the end of a successful cast was replaced with that involuntary action I coveted the first time.
At this point in my life, I will say~ I catch fish, I don’t struggle with casting or presentation. I can match the hatches adequetely, read water and all the subtitles it offers. I may even know a thing or two about fish. I have no doubt there is much more to learn….
As for how ‘good’ of a fly fisherman I am, honestly, I have no idea. Now that I think about it, I guess the judgement of how good a fisherman is lands squarely in the net of other people to decide. I haven’t physically fished with anyone who knows more about fly fishing than me in years so I haven’t exactly gotten any feedback….The truth is, when the river that my Fly Fishing Mentor and I waded together split into seperate channels, I entered my years of solitary wandering and learning.
When I wrote that final paragraph about my first time, I was eager to be an accepted member of an illusionary club I had created in my mind. Today I look back and admit that in reality, I choose a fly fishing path that was centered around being alone without ever feeling lonely. All these years, the river has been my companion, my comfort and the fly fishing is the thread that bound me there.
Which brings me to current days and this website I’ve created. Essentially it’s the biggest change of fishing direction I’ve taken in the last several years. By starting this writing venture and reaching out to other fisherman, I’ve finally made the first steps in joining a sense of community, aka, the Club. My goal this year, beyond being nicer to whitefish, is to enhance my fly fishing experiences by sharing them with others, both on the rivers and off.
And finally, if there is one claim I’m willing to make, it’s this…. I do consider myself a fly fisherman now.
Amendment: as pointed out by Austin of the blog, 365 flyfish, I will also be entering the beginning stages (again) of fly tying this year. I have vise, feathers and I’m totally afraid to use them…….
(the tone of this entry is the viable risk one takes when self reflecting the personal evolution of their fly fishing. It can quickly vear down the drain of sentimental navel gazing)