We fly fish, but why? Miles away from friends and family, long hours behind the wheel, more or less expensive lodges, thousands of dollars in gear, cold rivers but damp inside the waders, colds, sweating in the summer sun, freezing in the autumn rain, hours of no takes, always losing the biggest fish, missing the hatch, falling over and filling our waders, forgetting to bring the dry flies, missing the strike, tip breaking, wind knots, our buddy always gets a bigger one, long days in rivers with small fish only, etc.
Rain and cold!
Take to your senses and stop being an idiot. This hobby / sport is for people of less intelligence! – NOT!
Dumb as we are, we love it. We love the planning with all our expectations, we love the chill down our spine when seeing the river, we love our trembling hands when we saw a rise and try to put on the fly. We even love the times we totally miss, because we love being out there doing what we love the most; fly-fishing!
Speaking for myself, I love the total package. Spending evenings looking at maps trying to figure out the best river or even the best pool. I try to find related literature about where I am going, what flies are better in just this river or lake, when is the best time to go there, where to buy a license etc. Checking my gear, rods, reels and lines. New tippets, greasing the reel and line. Checking the fly boxes, are they full of totally necessary flies? If not, tying up some more (after all we need at least a couple of hundred flies to be on the safe side). Filling our vests or jackets with a diversity of things and tools we just have to have. The planning is almost half the trip, and it is during the planning we raise our hopes and expectations for the trip of our lives, again. Then at last, off we go.
Arrive at the scene, getting ready for some action.
There are so many rivers and lakes to choose from, some in our neighborhood, and some miles away or even in a distant country. I love them all, even if I am getting disappointed when arriving at the spot. I once fished a river in Slovenia that was a muddy hole. It was hell to get into it with a float tube, but it delivered nice trout on nymphs. I have fished in Iceland in heavy wind and freezing temps, and I’ve fished in several places in Norway in blizzards. We do remember the disastrous trips, but we often remember them not because they were disastrous, but because it actually was great fun and we learned a lot. This is actually one of the main objects of fly-fishing; we learn. You will never be a fully educated fly fisher, but every time we go out there we learn new stuff. As a wise man said: “If you think you have finished your education: You are not educated, only finished!
The greatest challenge is probably to outsmart the fish. Presenting the right fly in the right place at the exact right second. We all fish water with educated trout or other smart fish, fish that may have been caught several times before, and we just have to be a better fly fisher than the next guy to get it. What a thrill! Presenting the fly perfectly three feet above the rise and letting it float down, suddenly seeing it as it’s slurped in by a nice fish, counting to three and strike! If you have done it all right, it is on, and the fight begins. This is what we all live for, the take and the fight. Fish jumping trying to shake loose the hook, fish going wild from side to side or staying under the heavy stream on the bottom, maybe even under or between some sharp edged rocks. We learn to be patient, to be careful, to use all our experience and knowledge to get the fish into the net. It is a tense and mind-blowing fight. We swear, yell, curse and cry, and we use every muscle in our bodies. Then, when the fish is landed, the tension leaves us and we shake and shiver in pure happiness. I did it! I got it! I won! It is mine! The feelings are overwhelming, and another perfect day is stored in our memory. We thank the fish for the fight and the opportunity to take advantage of this extraordinary specie, kiss it, and put it gently out into the water to live another day and perhaps give pleasure to yet another dumb individual that thinks the world about fly-fishing. We love every minute of it!
Forget drugs or alcohol, forget your friends party. We find the calm and tranquility beside a river or a lake, looking at rises and listening to the sounds of nature. We try to be one with nature and to be one with the fish we want to take. It’s almost a religious feeling, and most certainly a catharsis. As said: Fly-fishing is a way of life!