Sex, Love, And Fly Fishing -- Forget About the Death and Taxes Stuff!!!!
was going back through some of Ian Scott's previous blogs on his great website "All About Fly Fishing" when I came across one entitled "Sexy Fly Fishing". It seems that Ian had found a referral to his blog on The Sex In Canada blog list. There was a referral to Ian's blog on The Sex In Canada glossary page and it was there because their blog and his are found on the same blog roll. But maybe somebody involved with The Sex In Canada blog realizes that fly fishing is a sexy sport too ( by the way, I totally agree with Ian's assessment in that regard).
John Geirach, my favourite fly fishing author, even has a book entitled “Sex, Death, and Flyfishing”. And Paul Arden’s website, “Sexy Loops” is an amazing source of information, with lots of great advice and suggestions on improving your casting. In a review of Ian James’ fantastic book, “Fumbling With A Flyrod”, it is mentioned “reading about James' inner turmoil over being seduced by a beautiful blonde or going bass fishing.” Yet Ian still makes reference to the Mugwump fly and “immediately, the reader knows which of James' passions won the day, and you can turn to the back of the book and discover that this fly was invented in 1989, is used for steelhead, bass, pickerel, and even sheephead, and of course, the pattern is also included.”
So flyfishers are sexy in their own right. And possibly even great lovers and mates as a result of their chosen “passion”. At least I like to think so while I’m out on the water. And maybe one day, some lucky lady may come to realize that as true. But until then I’m only casting for trout, not a mate or a lover. In the mean time though, let’s examine this seeming fascination with sex and fly fishing.
As I’ve already noted in a previous post here, John Merwin in his "The New North American Trout Fishing" stated:
“Starting to fly fish for trout is like falling in love. The early gratifications, be they kisses or rising trout, are heady and decidedly unscientific. They exist of the moment, and for the moment, that’s enough. Sooner or later things calm down a little, and as the infactuation continues you want to know more. Where she grew up. What her family was like. What makes her the way she is. So it is with trout fishing, and the questions are many. There are the trout themselves, of course, and what makes them tick. The broad fields of aquatic entomology and ecology are fair and necessary game, in addition to the immediate concerns of tackle and tactics.”
And further “In “Scotland” from “Dances With Trout” John Gierach wrote:
“I agree with a friend of mine who says that if fishing is really like sex, then he’s doing one of them wrong. Still there does seem to be similarities.” He continues, “For one thing — as the salmon fishers tell it — either you catch a fish way too soon, before you’re fully able to appreciate it, or you have to wait much longer than you think you should have to, so that when you finally hook and land one the elation is tempered by a profound sense of relief. And of course, repeated failures don’t lead you to the logical conclusion; they only whet your appetitie.”
As I went on to say myself:
“Talk about “casting your line out on the water” or even “matching the hatch”. Certainly thinking about comparing fly fishing to sex or love or even relationships can tend to boggle one’s mind. But I don’t really have time right now to contemplate such thoughts. The trout are rising. And my casting arm needs more exercise. Besides I’ve decided to practise “catch and release” in all matters of the heart. Including my renewed passion for fly fishing.”
The Deleware Valley Women’s Fly fishing Association has a delightful newsletter entitled “A Woman’s Angle”. In the Fall 2003 issue, Beth Wilson wrote in What The Trout Taught”:
“There is probably nothing in the world so unbelievably beautiful, so completely desirable to an angler than a spectacular, feisty trout on the other end of the line. To hold on to that lovely creature, to try to bring him to your hand while knowing that he, at any moment, could snap the hair-like leader with a toss of his sleek head and dart away into the depths of his alien world is a thrill beyond description. Part of the wonder of this is knowing that it is all so chancy: you're dancing with a wild thing, a free thing that you have tethered for a moment, but with a chain that is so fragile and so thin that you can't entirely believe that it will really bind the bursting heart of that creature on the other end. You know, after all, that it is truly the heart of the thing that tugs so furiously in your hands: you know it because you can feel it beating and singing and loving right up your line and down the twanging length of your rod. You fall instantly and completely in love with that dangerous heart, and risk the loss because, although you can only hold onto it for a moment, it is a heart the memory of which will touch yours for the rest of your life, and that is well worth the letting go when the moment of release inevitably comes.
When we think of each other, and the loves that we share, are we really reasonable when we believe that any love is any more secure than that? Don't we learn that love, like catching the trout, requires patience and tenacity and respect and care? Don't we always feel the strongest passion for the one least likely to be tamed? Don't we learn, as time goes by, the needful joy of letting go? Don't we always remember, in the midst of our thankfulness for the one who stayed, the one that got away?
There is a lesson in that.”
“There is so much in life that requires our attention, and there are so many of us asleep. The lessons become painful when that inattention gets the better of us, and when life's harsher side takes us by surprise. The trout teaches us to pay attention, because it's rare that you catch him without thinking, and, if you should happen to, the chance is good that he will break away from you before you bring him to hand.
No one can teach lost opportunity like a trout.
Even more important than that is the lesson of the other hazards of inattention. The saddest part of not paying heed is that you miss so much sweetness, so many of the things that could make you happy. All of the anglers I know can tell you which way the wind is blowing at any given time. They not only saw the colors of the sunset last night, but also the ones in the sunrise this morning. They know what phase the moon is in. They know what is blooming, what is hatching, what birds are to be found in what spot and what their song is like. Because all of these things affect their ability to pursue their happiness, they have learned to become aware of all the little things that can add beauty and joy to a life. This perceptiveness bleeds over into other aspects of life as well. Most men who fish can remember the exact color of your eyes, the dimple in your cheek, the color of your favorite dress. Any woman will tell you, this ability is a very important thing to be taught, and any man who has that ability can tell you that it always pays off. “
In the Spring 2004 issue of “A Woman’s Angle”, Rabbit Jensen wrote in “Zen and the Art of Fly Fishing”:
“Before you consider marriage, take your lover fishing. It won't tell you much about his earning power or social status, but will show you if he is patient, kind, humble and willing to learn; Passionate about life and love; Growing, evolving, embracing each new experience. It will show you if he faces his own mistakes with gentle humor, and others' with sympathetic support; Makes little of his own success and much of another's; And faces the windknots and biting insects of Life with courage and calm. Fly-fishing places a person in tune with his most basic self, revealing the truth of who he really is. A man who passes the 'fishing test' might make a superior husband; At least he is certain to make a great fishing buddy.”
So not only is fly fishing sexy but perhaps if more people took this great sport up there would be more love in the world. But then again, that would just mean more people fly fishing and sometimes the rivers are crowded enough already. Oh sorry, I’m not supposed to be selfish am I if I’m ever going to be the “great lover” my fly fishing side has potentially created for me. Then again, I have been known not to live up to my “potential”. So maybe I’ll just continue to fish. Any way, the trout are rising. And that is about all of the “arousal” I need for now.
"Fly fishing is solitary, contemplative, misanthropic, scientific in some hands, poetic in others, and laced with aesthetic considerations. It's not even clear if catching fish is actually the point." -John Gierach