This begins a new series, written by a beginning fly angler about his
experiences and adventures in the world of fly fishing.
It is a documentary - intended to encourage other
beginners. It may also revive a few memories from old fly anglers.
Today was probably the worst day I've had on the water yet.
Nothing was right. I cast into the trees, I had wind knots, I
lost flies, I lost fish, and I fell into the river. It was one of those
days that make you wonder why you continue with this foolish
pursuit. When I got home I was cold, tired and grumpy. After
several minutes of complaining, my darling wife asked, "If it's
such a terrible sport, why do you keep doing it?"
As I thought of an answer, I was taken back to the riverbank.
What is it that keeps bringing me back to this place that so
often causes unbridled frustration? It's certainly not the fact
that wind never stops blowing and I can't make a good cast
to save my life. Oh, but on the other hand, the cool breeze
does feel good on a hot day. As I sit on the bank I can smell
the grass wet with the morning dew. It seems strong, yet
innocent, still untouched by my intrusion.
As I slip into the river I can feel the water around me.
Is there anything as clear as a mountain stream untouched
by man's hands of destruction? As I wade into the current
I can feel the rocks beneath my feet, rocks that have caressed
the water for millions of years. Yes, often times these rocks
cause me too stumble but only when I move to fast to enjoy them.
These rocks have provided a place of rest for countless
fish, hiding near them, away from the endless currents.
Oh! Then there are the trees, the grand swaying trees.
They have given me shelter from the rain and a place to
rest myself against. All that I have given them in return are
a few of my flies stuck in their branches. There are the birds
that sweetly serenade me, their songs soft yet full of life.
As I cast my fly, I am engrossed in the rhythm, the gentle
sway of the rod in my hand. The sound of my line slipping
through the guides enchants me, so smooth yet full of energy.
Is there anything as delicate as a dry fly drifting on the current?
As I watch the gentle drift of my fly, I am moved by the whisper
of air through the wings of the duck that has landed upstream of me.
I'm not angry at his arrival for this is much more his home than mine.
I have yet to feel anything that compares to the joy of a trout taking
my fly. Their strength and determination will always amaze me.
There is nothing so wild as the trout I hold in my hand. Its' presence
in my hand moves me with a passion I have seldom felt before. How
lucky am I to hold something so wild? How could I have fooled a
creature whose existence is determined by its' ability to be cautious?
Was it skill? Doubtful. Maybe it was pity, for I have spent many a
fishless day here.
As the sun slowly hides behind the horizon, once again I am
reminded how vast our world is, and how just being there,
on the water, I've become a little closer to it.
So you ask why I continue to pursue this sport and I answer "Why
do you?" For the reasons are different for each of us, but no less
important. This is a sport of no errors. What works for me may
not work for you but neither of us is wrong. Where I find joy you
may find frustration. I will not give you advice on what is right and
what is wrong, for you must find that yourself. I know that to be in
the water surrounded by nature and all the glory it holds is right for
me. Whether there is a fish on my line or not is unimportant, because
I enjoy the pursuit. May you be touched by nature's hand and forever
feel her strength around you.
~ Don McPherson