I sat in my car…. wet, cold, shivering, smiling! It had been raining on and off since last night. The air was that cold heavy fall air that chills you all the way to your bones even though the temperature gauge would indicate otherwise. I had been standing in a cold river since 6:30AM making countless drifts and even more mends. My shoulder was sore but again I was smiling.
At one point I saw a group of guys behind me watching. I turned around to ask the omnipresent question that one asks whenever a stranger happens upon you in a river holding a fly rod… Do any good? Nah…. they shook their heads….. telling me it was too blown out and they were heading home. I gave them the obligatory wave and my internal smirk broadened. You see, I knew something that they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the day was far from prolific and they were right. The creek was totally blown out. It was like fishing in chocolate milk. As soon as my fly hit the water it disappeared from sight.
Truth be told, I was struggling. I was picking up leaves on every third cast. There was so much debris in the water that it was almost impossible to get a decent drift. My secret was not that I had already hooked up with five good fish and landed two. (although I wasn’t about to broadcast that fact) Nor did I know about some secret stretch of water immune from the onslaught of rain and silt. I had no magic fly.
My secret (which I will share with you now) is the most valuable piece of advice that was ever bestowed upon me as a fly fisher. There are very few certainties in this great pursuit of ours (other than your guide telling you that you should have been here last week). But this is the Yin the Yang and the Kung Fu all wrapped up into one. So here it is…..
REGARDLESS OF THE CONDITIONS, GO FLY FISHING! and fish till you can’t make another cast.
Why? Why on earth would I want to do such a thing Lee? Because……. This is what will make you a better fly fisher. Anyone can fish a day with no wind, not rain, no high water, no unbearable temperatures, no swarms of biting insects, etc…. But if you do, if you can…. You will begin a journey to a place that far too few get to go. This is how you become a Jedi master. This is how we learn, how we evolve. Persevere and you will learn. The next time you encounter the same situation you will be rewarded with your experience.
We live in a society today that is largely built around a controlled environment. We air condition, sanitize, sterilize, safety check, and then consult with a large firm of highly paid individuals to make sure our logic is sound. Sometimes It’s OK to give it a go just to see what you can make out of a crappy situation. Falling on your face builds character and character is far too uncommon on the river or anywhere else.
I absolutely loved today. Although not quite as much, I would have loved today had I been skunked. So next time you are staring out the window and the wind is howling or the rain is spitting, get in the car and go fly fishing instead of going back to bed. I promise you that you will begin to surprise yourself and the things that you will learn will make you a better fly fisher every day thereafter.
Tight Lines and Loose Pants,