Friday, March 30, 2012

One trout two trout three trout four ...

Is it just me, or has the ethos of fly fishing slipped a bit, towards what you might call counting coup?

Now I should emphasize, you don't see this everywhere.  The better magazines have contributors whose stories bring us the wider experience; the scent of the flowers, the flow of the water, the beat of the heart. 

But on the web .. 'tons of hookups' - 'stuck some hawgs' - 'we ripped some lips on the Nevada side' - 'a hundred fish'.  And that was just the ones that were spelt correctly.  Now I don't want to pontificate here. Pope I'm not, and I might deserve being reminded of that, if it weren't for my own gradual conversion, so to speak.  It took fifteen years.

(Can we do one of those late 70's wobbly video dissolves here, that would be good)

So you walk into the doctor's office and say ..
"Doc, I'm obsessed with fly fishing, what do you prescribe?"   and she (I live in San Francisco, opposite sex doctor/patient relationships are allowed here, and she just got married, darn it) says ..
"Go fishing"
So I did.

That was 1996, six whole months, twenty thousand miles and two thousand trout.  And if you ever thought you wanted to be a fishing guide, I can confirm that when flyfishing starts to become work, it may be time to stop.  I nearly did, as the late fall snow closed in on my tent in Montana and I had trouble staying warm.

But here's what rescued me; a little sunshine, and the Metolius River in Oregon.  Did I catch twenty fish, or even anything exceptional?  No, I did not, but just enough bugs hatched to make the fishing interesting, very challenging and thoroughly absorbing.  And there's the rub; if you're counting trout, you're not thinking.  Or looking; at the bugs or the river or the glory of the trout's beauty.  Three or four nice trout was plenty, as it should be.

But hey, I know, I'm a pompous self-identified expert, and you may not be.  So I do bow to your desparate need to catch as many trout as possible, because I have certainly been there.  But if you are new to flyfishing and you're already fishing small streams, as indeed you should be (they'll teach you all you really need to know; about sneaking up on trout, not spooking them, then casting to them and again, not spooking them.)  Well, then you know that you can catch a bunch of eight-inch trout;  and have you ever felt a tiny bit guilty, unhooking the latest one, that's hooked a little too far down the throat?

Like most recovering addicts should, I can advise, but I won't criticize.  I'll just offer this; look for the one 12 incher among the 8 inchers.  He, or she, is out there somewhere, and the journey is its own reward.   But you've heard my self-imposed bag limit, now go out there and make one of your own. 

And sure, you can let me know I'm full of <bleep>  ... just click 'comment' & type in 'Post a Comment'.

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