Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Having faith when fly fishing

If you are a fly fisherman, you have to have a certain degree of faith in what you’re doing on the river. You hope, of course, to catch fish. To do such, you have to have faith in the fly you’re using and a belief that the water you’re fishing actually is home to some nice, fat fish, which do not have to be trout but do have to be eager to hit your fly. Where I spend the weekends, the water is full of trout.
We got rainbows, browns, brookies and the rare tiger trout in the mountain streams of western North Carolina, where I skip from rock to rock in the creeks and rivers every chance I get, searching for some of those hungry trout.And I have faith I will find some every time. I never leave the house harboring the belief that I will not catch a fish — of course I will.Without that belief firmly imbedded under my ragged, green fishing cap, it would all be close to a waste of time.
Actually, you would call it hiking. That’s what Henry Thoreau, who was not a fly fisherman, did. He liked to saunter through the woods around his little pond, without a fly rod, just to drink in nature’s beauty. Good for him. I have to have fish to hunt.
Today I expect to hunt trout.
As I type this, a vicious rain is peppering the rivers and creeks and perhaps even startling my little wild rainbows and browns. There was even talk of violent tornadoes and thunderstorms.It will clear. I have faith.
The sleepy sun will peep from under that thick quilt of gray sky, the air will sparkle with astonishing brightness, and trout will rise to gobble mayflies, with perhaps a sprinkling of tiny midges for seasoning. I am ready.
I spent way too much time tying flies last weekend. Randomly, I switched from a couple of huge monster streamers to little mayflies, with no sense of rhyme or reason. Some tyers can sit and tie dozens of the same fly over and over. My attention span when tying trout flies is akin to a butterfly hopping from one flower to another. Lack of focus, I guess.
But I keep the fly boxes full.And I have an unexplainable faith in their effectiveness, though few resemble what you would find in a catalogue or fly shop because of their natural scruffiness. I tie scruffy flies. They mostly look like one of my border collie’s chew toys, ragged and about to fall apart, but trout seem to like them. I generally catch fish.
And I have faith in those scruffy flies.How can a fly fisherman not be full of hope and high expectation upon spring’s arrival? This time of year, we fly fishers tingle with anticipation, knowing the air will soon fill with fluttering caddisflies and the splashes on the water’s surface will be feeding fish, not torrential rain. Life is good and all is well with the world.
You’ve got to have faith.

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