Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The whole Experience

The whole Experience

At the beginning, it was just fishing. Just us with Dad and Grandpa, a world of anticipation, a bucket of worms, new smells, faded overalls, sunburn, and a connection to a panfish through careful and patient watching of the bobber.

That is still how most people think of fishing when they ask me what I do.

I usually kind of beg off, because to explain even the basics of this passion involves complicated analogies and comparisons.

How did our fishing evolve to this? Why?

Because we love. Because many of us strive to always explore even more difficult techniques, more beautiful locations, fussier fish, perfect casting, take tying to an art, and generally surround the core of fishing for a fish with a picture frame of structure that enhances its beauty. Like an elegant dress on a beautiful woman, a sublime aria, wine in a crystal glass, our fly fishing gains in brilliance with the lore we surround it with.

The remote plunge-pools of a trout stream under overhanging boughs of pine trees forming a virtual nave of a cathedral.

The sound of moving water as the whispered voice of God or nature.

The electric jolt of a steelhead eating a waking fly.

The colors on a fall brook trout like an impressionist painting.

The music we hum when it all comes together.

The favorite cane rod.

Dad’s old fishing hat.

Our faithful old dog.

Drinking directly out of the stream.

Fishing with equipment that puts us at a disadvantage.

The wild berries we eat along the river, which always manage to taste better than anything we had ever eaten before.

The wildflowers.

The thoughts of those that have gone before and those that will come after.

That perfect cast with the loop unfurling like an aerial ballet.


The whole experience is the most important part, and it means something different to each of us. If we were to strip it naked and just fish to catch a fish, it would lose its appeal and luster like a fading and withering flower.

It is more than just fishing. It is more than the fish.

Think about it.


  1. "...surround the core of fishing for a fish with a picture frame of structure that enhances its beauty."

    This makes me think of the human element--the angler's schema--that colors the interpretation of the fishing experience. Just as humans frame the art, the angler is the one who frames the experience.

    Hmmm...not sure I'm expressing my thoughts in a meaningful way, but I just liked the metaphor here. Thanks for the thoughts Erik.

  2. Aha!
    The framing and structure makes it. Turns it into art. Sound vs. organized sound. Music.
    Only we humans are capable of this. Taking some mundane activity and giving it a higher meaning.


Comments by interested readers are welcome. Back links to non-topical (spam) websites will be treated as spam and deleted.