July 11th, 2005

By James Castwell

Is what my father used to do to me years ago. Probably should have done it more. There is another meaning and for me it almost describes my fly fishing life. Sometimes I have thought that fly-fishing is a bit like a religion. It seems to have many of the elements. But far too many are missing. No singing for one thing. With me that's likely a good thing. If it took that to get 'saved' I might be left outside peeking in. No central figure, no top dog so to speak, a bunch of guru's for sure, maybe a few 'saints' (guess Peter was a fisherman at that) but, just not the right pigeon-hole for my fly-fishing. One day I happened to remember the archaic, at least not much used, meaning of 'discipline.' Not the kind where you get spanked, the other one, the 'set of rules' one. The dictionary says approximately this.

"Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order. A branch of knowledge or teaching, a branch of knowledge."

Well, there you have it. That for me explains a whole lot of things. From the start I have had little laws and rules and silly things that for a period of time seemed important, sometimes very important to how I fished and what I fished with and where I fished and when I fished...I think you get the picture.

But these things would change. I might not even be aware they were, but all of a sudden, there it was, a new law. Plop, right in front of me. Like a decision to take all of the nymphs out of my fly boxes. I had decided that I enjoyed casting a dry so much that I would spend any time I had on a stream trying to bring them up to a dry. Why not fish with a nymph? Because I liked the dry better. If I liked it better, why use a nymph, it cut down my dry time! Silly for you maybe, but, it was my rule, my new law.

Perhaps you don't carry any dries, who is to say that is nuts? Sure, I would, but that is my rule, not yours. And we are both just as right as rain. A discipline allows both of us to do our own thing. I know a guy who would not be caught dead with a streamer in his box. Nymphs? Yup, and on droppers at that! Even with an indicator too! So, there you go. Something for all of us.

Now, all the little rules we keep and or change from time to time have a name. They are called disciplinals. Some we hold on to for dear life, others, not so much. Over time and learning more about fly fishing and our own likes and real dislikes we may change them some, or even abandon a few all together. Mine are not yours; your's are not mine. In fact, even some of mine are not mine certain. They may be flexible, just a 'range' of ideas, not all of them are set disciplinals.

I think it is these disciplinals which loosely bind us together. Not as with a religion, but of our own making, our own set of personal rules and laws. Flexible but common, firm but singular, etched in stone and changeable but unique to each. This is what creates-produces family. The FlyAnglers OnLine family. Why we are a family. Why, when all else today is uncertain, it is these which remain reachable when ever we wish? The common bond of a fraternal discipline.

Our world has changed over the years. Society is fluid. Ethics reflect now, instead of guide. Morals are old-fashioned. When we do not know the name of our neighbor, when we pass by a poor person on the street, or drive past a fresh accident. We do not want to get involved, for many reasons, in the lives or problems of others. Our vehicles have tinted windows. We block out the world. We have learned to live in our own isolated ways because we have to. It is our survival.

Thank you for making FAOL; welcome home. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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