This weekend I was fortunate to spend time on the river with friends. Erich from Nomad Anglers is a dude that I’ve only fished with a few times, but have had frequent interactions with both in the shop and online, he, Dan and I pursued steelhead for the day enjoying the last sliver of decent weather before the inevitable yearly winter lock down.
One of my favorite aspects of fishing is the relationships that are made and the resulting conversations that are had. Erich made a comment that really resonated with me and provided a really interesting perspective that triggered me to really think about why fly fishing is so unique in relation to other hobbies and pursuits. It’s obvious the we start fishing for the fish, but soon realize its about way more than that – the fish are just the medium that binds it all together.
- This one is obvious, fly fishing connects you to nature and allows for you to get outdoors and enjoy wildlife and experiences you otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
- It’s something that requires an enormous amount of concentration. Everything related to fly fishing demands substantial amounts of attention. Casting, tying flies, reading water, rowing a boat, fighting a fish, crossing a stream, tying knots – none are simply mindless activities that require little to no focus. The devil is in the details, the extreme focus on any task associated with fly fishing provides us with a significant respite from dedication of brain function directed towards work or problems or whatever is weighing us down at any given time.
- You can do something fly fishing related all year long. Today my face hurts when I go outside because of the cold burn of the January air and it looks like I live in a recently shaken snow globe……but I still was able to “escape” by tying flies. How many golfers out there? What did you do today in Michigan? Probably not golf eh? We have the luxury of still continuing our pursuit by tying flies, organizing materials, building rods, or patching up leaky waders (a once a month routine for some).
- The connection to people that you normally would have no connection to. Fly fishing is something that is enjoyed by people from an enormous range of social and economical situations. It’s a common interest that links blue collar works with CEO’s of corporations and college students with retirees. The diversity of the people that share fly fishing and the resulting network of connections that would normally not exist is amazing.
- It allows us to maintain a respective level of competitiveness. As a former athlete a strong desire to compete is part of my being, it’s something that is so strongly engrained in me that it will never cease to exist. Fly fishing allows for me to maintain a healthy level of competition, I compete with myself and others. When someone within my circle catches a big fish – I want to catch one bigger! When someone ties a great new fly pattern, I want to come up with something better.
- There is the availability of varying degrees of difficulty. Fly fishing has an endless amount of levels of degree of difficulty from the different tactics to species we pursue. Challenges abound. Because of the substantial challenges associated with fly fishing the learning will never end. There will forever be something that can be learned in the many different aspects associated with fly fishing.
“To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish.”
~ Herbert Hoover