I know many of you fish alone. It is a piece of
respite, solitude, escapism needed to maintain your
sanity (see I really do understand) - and you prefer
to have that time to yourself. Understood.
Still, some need to share that in some way. Bragging
rights perhaps, or maybe telling someone about something
especially neat. Doesn't have to be catching fish. We've
had many Readers Casts about neat things seen or discovered
in the midst of a 'fishing' experience.
My husband, JC, and I have fished together so long (over
30 years) it's difficult for either of us to really enjoy
the occasional time when we aren't sharing the experience.
It is a common frame of reference for us, and we can talk
about where, when, why and who. Many hours of enjoyment
Returning from our recent bonefish trip, we are still talking
about the neat things. And the people. JC had a chance to
renew a friendship he began on the Invitational Bonefish
Tournament on Grand Bahama Island last November, and I
finally met the fellow he had been telling me about.
I hope that continues to be a fine friendship. We met
some new folks as well, and have the opportunity for those
to become friendships too.
There are lots of 'parts' to fly fishing. Many are well
beyond the catching of fish.
We might remember a fish we caught (but it's more likely
we'll remember the big one, or tough one we lost), but for
us it has become the people we've met over the years.
Granted, we have more years than many of you, so the
address book may be a little thicker and well used.
But because of the common fly fishing frame of reference,
we can run into, speak to, email those folks and it seems
like we are just picking up a conversation we had a day
or so ago; instead of a matter of years since we've seen
them in person. Some people whom I consider to be friends,
not just acquaintances, I have never met in person. I
have spoken to some on the phone, but most are folks
we've come to value through the Chat Room or Bulletin
Board. Common backgrounds and shared values tend to
make for good relationships. Marriages too.
I keep saying the finest folks in the world are fly fishers,
and the percentage of 'dorks' as compared to those in the
general population is considerably less. That still holds
true. One can even excuse some of the 'dorkiness' to youth
and inexperience. A couple of our dorky former students
actually grew up, became good fly fishers and have made
up for their past behavior. Cool.
JC and I always look forward to the Fish-Ins, just like
others attending we like putting faces on the names we've
seen in the Chat Room or on the Bulletin Board. One of
the real treats is meeting folks who haven't participated
in either, but decided to come and fish. Great fun.
Friendships are established which will flourish.
Jeff Fields from Atlanta, Georgia, was at the very first
Fish-In and he's been to every one since. He'll attend
a couple of the regional ones this year as well, and the
last time I heard he had fished with over 50 people from
Fly Anglers OnLine (FAOL) - not counting the Fish-Ins.
He travels a great deal and tries to arrange his schedule
so he has a weekend to fish wherever he is. Since Jeff
is single he can get away with that, and more power to him.
What a wonderful chance to make friendships and memories
to last a lifetime.
A reader recently wrote of his first experience fishing on
purpose with others, (all FAOL folks) and how much he enjoyed
it. While he may still go off by himself, he has a new frame
of reference and friends with whom to share his experiences.
He just expanded his world - and who knows how much he has
to contribute to those new friends which will enhance their
It all works together. In fact, if you read the Bulletin
Board you will often see questions about where to fish,
or people traveling to a new area asking for advise.
Quite often the answers will also contain an invitation
to fish with one of the people in the region.
Regardless of what else you've been involved with for a
vocation or avocation, one of the great benefits of fly
fishing is the friendships you make. Nourish and cherish
them, they are rare in the society we live in. ~ The LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!