This past weekend at the NFFC/Vagabond Fly Fishing Clinic in the KZN Midlands I was asked, “why do you fish” … I gave the short answer, “because I love to.” Here’s the long version ……………..
I do fly fish because I love to, but its because it has taken me along many of the paths less traveled, to places of exceptional natural beauty, wild places, rich in fauna and flora – invariably in the mountains which have had no less an influence on my life over many years than flyfishing. It has been an endless source of enjoyment, an escape and the trout respond only to quietude, humility and endless patience. I find the solitude I seek yet I am never alone. In the beginning it was all about catching fish and yet even then the seeds of consciousness stirred, a rudimentary sense of connection to the big wild earth crept into my awareness, to the wonders of wilderness and the natural world.
In small stream fishing there always seems to be an insatiable hunger for more knowledge. It leads to a better understanding and skill, from the early fumbling attempts at casting and presentation, to fooling even the most difficult wild trout. How many questions, even apparently insignificant questions but telling ones, have led from the then to the now and what a fun journey it has been. My passion for small stream flyfishing now seems so logical a natural progression from not knowing to knowing. But, it doesn’t end there and part of growth is learning how to learn? To assimilate, to modify and to adapt – it’s a never-ending journey of discovery. A stream with its tapestry of colours and sounds is a place where I can learn about myself and other creatures as well.
Memories are a major part of fishing. Their pleasures reach back through years to favorite rivers and familiar pools. The mind is a rich assemblage of recollections, planning tactics for the future and remembering the companions of other seasons. Some of those companions will no longer join us for the fly-hatches of the coming spring, and the continuing life of the river is a reminder of our own mortality.
Also now, the context within which my flyfishing takes place has become increasingly important enriching the experience, imbuing it with that extra little shine in the memory – a journey from the unconscious to the conscious.
Not that I regard fly fishing as so important because I suspect so many other things in my life are equally unimportant, but never anywhere near as much fun – I read that somewhere.
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