What’s so great about fly fishing …
Why has the art of fly fishing permeated Hollywood and its movies and been held in a sort of high regard; an esoteric sport practiced by intense enthusiast? What’s the difference between catching a fish on a Spin rod or a Fly rod? What’s all the hub-bub, Bub?
I love ALL types of fishing and have been an avid angler since I was old enough to dangle a drowned worm off my Scooby-Do fishing pole over rabid Perch in the lakes of Texas and Oklahoma. That thrill parlayed into a cooler of beer between lawn chairs watching a red and white bobber for extended periods of submersion, my line tied to a lure loaded with stinking power-bait to stir up the bottom dwellers. That’s fun, I don’t care who you are.
Like all good Texans my family vacationed in Colorado and sometimes my Dad would bring out this odd looking rod – no thumb grip and no swivel tackle. No live bait either. He’d tie on the tiniest of lures – a bit of feather no bigger than a fat mosquito, and he’d stand in the river casting graceful loops over the surface of the water. He didn’t do it often but the image landed in my bucket list and the desire to check that one off blew wide open when I saw “A River Runs Through It.” Most of us remember how that movie made us feel – for a lot of reasons; Brad Pitt in his adorable days pre-Gelina for one. But even more inspiring was the relationship that the Maclean’s had with the river and the trout that lived there.
“Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”… Norman Maclean ‘A River Runs Through It’.
Fly fishing is to fishing, as calligraphy is to writing. It is an intricate art requiring practice and dedication to master – and one never truly masters it. That’s what’s so cool about it – there’s always more to learn and more to practice. The education can include Entomology; the scientific study of insects. Knowing bugs and their ways implies an edge because the student then knows what type of artificial fly to tie on. Many enthusiasts tie their own flies to ensure the accuracy of the pattern or just to escape into a focused session of threads and feathers. I can testify – there is nothing more satisfying than tying your own Woolly-Bugger , casting it to the cattail’s edge and stripping in a hungry trout. The feeling is unmatchable!
The most frequent remark I hear when people ask me about fly fishing is, “it looks so relaxing – so Zen”. Indeed, that’s the same thought I had when I watched my Dad cast for the first time. I have to say, there are aspects of Zen in the beauty of the surroundings and the feeling of being connected to creation. As they say, trout don’t live in ugly places. But that feeling is equally balanced with frequent spurts of frustration… and equal measure of adrenaline pumped euphoria. The intricacies of fly fishing require more focus than drinking a beer and watching a bobber – but to see a trout turn, size up your presentation, and swallow your fly… is well worth the effort and the sacrifice of multi-tasking.
“Often I have been exhausted on trout streams, uncomfortable, wet, cold, briar scarred, sunburned, mosquito bitten, but never, with a fly rod in my hand have I been less than in a place that was less than beautiful.” … Charles Kuralt
When you fly fish you typically release your catch back to the river. We do this as considerate citizens of planet earth, but we also do it for self-centered motivations. We want to take care of our waters and ensure the continuation of a species. But perhaps more desperately we want the repeated pleasure of bringing that fish into our close study one more time. We want to feel that connection with creation, and to appreciate the conduit of a fly-rod and six pound test. We want to belong to that esoteric group where our intense enthusiasm is celebrated!
Sabrina Stratford | SheLovesFlyFishing.com