Some of us are graced into fly fishing families. Others of us are born into fishing families. The rest of us find fishing on our own. As the latter, it generally starts at worm dunking. Worm dunking generally focuses on small readily caught species, fished from the shore or docks. One might stay at that point for a lifetime, while others may always push for more.
I started as a tried and true worm dunker. I loved the days on the dock catching endless amounts of bluegill. My world would turn upside down with the bite of a bass. Research and progression, the focus went to bass. Bassing was life now. A decade of my life would be dedicated to the hardcore hardware pursuit of the large mouth bass, and consequently pike and musky.
The drive was always big, bigger, biggest, more, more, more. I could not catch enough fish in the time I was out, and could never get back to the water fast enough. There was an insatiable lust inside me, and I didn’t know how to quench it. I fished my hands raw. Super line cuts, reel seat knuckle lump, and bass thumb. You might have been there too. Then it happened.
I drove past a river and saw the stoic solo angler waist deep in the river,skillfully and purposefully making art for the fish. His red line floated back and forth in the air, haloed by the setting sun. There was no haste. There was no lust. His love was evident in the passion for his art. I was the wary buck hugging the bank, gun shy to move, because…worms.
It would be years before the realization hit me, of what I had actually seen. It would take even more years of fly fishing to understand his stoicism. It took the highs and lows in life and on the water, before I was ready to convert. It took personal trial and error before publicly admitting I had crossed over from fly curious to full on fly fisherman.
These days the spinning rods are dusty and the reel grease acts more like contact cement. I embrace my passion and the progression of my approach. I’m thankful for the steps that have gotten me here. I love that the approach is the drive now, not the head count. I appreciate connecting with nature, rather than taking from her.
We all fish for our own reasons and in our own ways. Do the best you can with what you have, but never settle until it feeds your soul. There are truly beneficial gifts waiting when you find your peace.
Keep your lines tight and your pride wet,