March 1st, 1999
"Why Bother?"

by Tom Six (aka BEARCAT)

A good question no doubt when someone asks you to teach them to fly cast, flyfish or to learn to tie flies. Why bother I asked myself, thinking of all the time that would be invested in teaching someone to cast a fly line or tie a fly or fish for trout on a mountain stream with a fly pole.

I don't know this person very well, I am not related to them, I don't owe them anything, why are they asking me? I have enough to do with work, things that need to be done around the house, taking my family places, and so forth. Why me? Why not someone else? Why should I have to spend my valuable time to teach this person? They are just a mere novice, someone that is not worthy of my time or patience. Why bother?

Why bother I ask you? Did you have a mentor? Someone to teach you how to flyfish, cast a line or tie a fly? More than likely you did. More than likely if you are like me you had a father, uncle, friends or stranger for that matter that just took a little time with you and gave you some basic instruction that helped you along. It did take away from their own time, their own busy schedule, their family, their work around the house. Why bother you ask? Well for one reason they wanted to help, it was in their nature.

They wanted to see you succeed at what you were trying to do.

They wanted to take the time because as my father always said, "If you teach a boy to hunt and fish you never have to hunt the boy." Meaning that if you did that you never had to worry about what a boy would do or spend his money on. The boy would always want something new to fish with, to tie flies with, or to hunt with, some accessory that would make a difference in the way things turned out. Never spending their money on stuff like drugs, tobacco, or alcohol.

It could be they wanted you to spend time enjoying the same things that they enjoyed doing. Spending time in the outdoors, wondering at the beautiful scenery, contemplating creation (if that was their and your belief), the feeling of having a fish take a fly that they had made, and being able to fish a stream and catch a fish or two. Finally they maybe wanted you go with them, to enjoy these things with them and keep them company.

Whatever the reason they probably asked no payment whatsoever for the time they spent with you or if they did ask payment of some kind it might have been to go with them to fish. If it was monetary it was not much considering the enjoyment that you would gain from doing it. Not much indeed considering the enjoyment, thrills, and feelings that you have gotten from the experiences.

Why should I bother you ask? For all the same reasons that someone taught you to fish, cast a line, or tie a fly. Seeing the thrill in their eye that was in yours the first time and every other time a fish came to take your offering. That would be just enough to make a good feeling appear inside your chest, a feeling that maybe hadn't been there for a long time. A feeling of accomplishment that you don't receive at your job, a warm fuzzy feeling that only comes when you see something good happen to a relative, friend, or even a stranger.

Yes, in this busy world it is easy to forget about others and just stay in our normal routine of going to work, coming home and then doing it all over again. Helping someone else maybe the payment necessary to repay the person or persons who introduced and tutored you along the way. I believe it to be a necessary repayment for those kind acts which have given you so much pleasure. Time that you considered well spent whether anyone else did or not.

Ask yourself what about the little boy or girl that lives down the street from you. Could you help out by taking them fishing, showing some kindness, helping out a single parent that has no clue of how to go about teaching their children some of the most valuable lessons in life?

What about your own son or daughter? Have you really given them the kind of time that someone else gave you? Have you just taken them along and put them on their own to fen for themselves, to become frustrated and then to give up and go back to the car to play the video game they brought along just in case they got bored?

It was a great enjoyment when you tied your first fly that someone told you was good enough to take fishing. It was as if your heart leaped out of your chest when you saw the first fish take the fly that you offered and for that matter every fish after that the same feelings rushed through your body. The anticipation that comes from a perfectly cast line in a stream or lake to tempt the big one to take a fly.

"Bother, what bother it was just shear enjoyment of reliving those moments through someone elses' eyes, feelings, and stories of fishing.

Teaching someone else to fish, cast a line, or tie a fly is a repayment by you to those who taught you. A passing of the tradition so to speak and enjoyment of something that many have no idea even exists or understands. One of the most wonderful experiences anybody could have.


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