February 25, 2010

On Fishing Alone

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Luck affects everything. Let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it there will be a fish.

Luck is an art.
George Roy Hill

I could have given this piece a different title; any number of them. But, since I am most often the only one in the company of myself, there can be no other as logical. And to me there can be nothing else so logical as to enjoy an outing having nothing whatsoever to do with anyone but me, a stream, a trout (or maybe even several of them), and the chance to tempt these trout with a fly.
And I find it fascinating that, when in the company of only myself, I have had such fine days (and nights) of fishing that, when related to others, often draws, among other reactions, the predictable raised eyebrow, the annoyed roll of the eyes, and yes, even the abrupt excusal, closing out the probability any further disclosure altogether.
Flyfishermen can be a fickle lot. They have a tendency to take their own prowess, imagined or real, very seriously. I think it has a little to do with the nature of the sport, and a lot to do with an ego. This image we keep of ourselves as we partake in our passion, this self-emblazoned badge of honor that we wear so proudly, can also be an obstacle to enjoyment.
In days gone by I have set forth on a day of fishing with one friend or another, only to regret the experience as the day wore on if he for one reason (or many others) did not meet his own somewhat unreasonable expectations for success. And, as I came to understand the nature of the beast, it dawned on me that it was necessary for them to have a witness to validate their success in the eyes of their cronies. To what degree, then, do they actually enjoy their fishing if there is a continual need to provide concrete evidence?
I have, for many years now, fished alone. By choice. I find it most pleasurable to cast my fly knowing there is no need to keep score. There is no hurry, no waiting, and no anxiety. No pressure. There is the ability to fully comprehend and enjoy all that surrounds me, and to focus with acuity
on the mystery of a trout and my fly.

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