This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
September 13th, 2004
Tilting at Windmills?
Archive of Ladyfisher Articles
We fly fishers may have more in common than you
realize. It isn't about where you fish, what
you fish for, or even what rod you use (assuming
you ARE fly fishing of course.) Take another
guess. Not about how many different species of
fish you have caught, the size of the fish, or
how much to cost to get there. Nor how you
dress, whether you engage a guide, float a river,
climb a mountain to a high country lake, slosh
through the marsh to get to the salt - or spent
the entire weekend (or vacation) and didn't have
one fish to hand.
Gordon Wickstrom, in his book Late in an Angler's Life
has a neat story about trying to find the original
statement in Don Quixote (remember fighting
windmills?) "There is no taking trout in dry breeches."
Gordon likens fly fishers to Don Quixote in their
madness to catch fish, except we all know fly fishers
are perfectly sane of course.
Surely I can't mean the commonality in fly fishers is
we are all mad - although I'm sure there have been
situations where we've been so frustrated we bordered
on some sort of 'trout madness' even if the subject
of our quest isn't trout.
I think we all have a certain commonality in the learning
experience, the frame of reference when someone talks
about a particular problem we have already solved,
(or not). Those experiences help bind the fly fishing
community together because we tend to want to help our
fellow anglers solve their problems as well. Long
conversations can ensue over the most minor of fishing
subjects; the shared information is always welcome
and is filed on our mental computer bank under fly
fishing for later use.
There are more 'things' which fly fishers share - but
the big one in my view is the wonderful attitude of
eternal optimism. There are always some exceptions,
but for the great majority, fly fishers are very
positive people. They are not the gloom and doomers
of our society.
We go fishing fully expecting to catch fish. We don't
approach it NOT expecting to catch fish. The fish may
not co-operate, and that may happen more often than we
would like to admit. But the whole experience in total
is the reward, not just possible or probably numbers.
The same attitude prevails in fly tying! We tie flies
in a certain way, with perhaps a bit of a variation
because we expect them to work. No one ties flies
expecting them to fail. We gladly share those flies
on the water with others less fortunate (those who
aren't catching fish) or pass the recipes on to our
Some great writer said "Attitude is everything" and
for the non-angler our continued journey to catch
fish may be a complete mystery. But even the
non-angler benefits from the our attitude.
It is so much more interesting and pleasant to
be around 'positive' people than 'negative' ones.
Perhaps Human Resource people should have being a
fly fisher high on their 'want' list. I would.
It is just one of the many reasons my husband and
I so look forward to attending one of the FAOL
Fish-Ins. Whatever the fishing turns out to be,
or the weather, or the accommodations, or food or
the myriad of other things involved, the quality
of the company will be terrific. The best in fact. ~ DLB
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
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