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Old 08-07-2008, 11:55 AM
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Default Catch And Release

I guess, like others, I’ve been through my share of ups and downs in my personal lfe. Maybe needing to find some peace and solitude, because of yet another unhappy ending to a relationship, I had found myself taking up a fly rod again. Maybe, at first, more to “cast out” demons rather than to cast a line across the water. But then i found myself getting caught up in the rhythm of the act of casting a fly. In the stillness of the early twilight on a favourite trout stream. In the solitude and the stillness. A sense of calmness, even peace, came over me. I was in tune with the natural environment that I was being allowed to be part of. The rod in my hands like a wand allowing me to enter into a magical world. The moving water surging past my waders, flowing through a series of ripples up and down over a shallow rocky section, before entering into a deep pool. Much like life. A little further downstream, the air filled with the fragrant scent of the overhanging cedars, I had a beaver swim by so close I could’ve touched it with the tip of my rod. In fact, at first, I thought it was a floating log drifting in the current. Until it got near enough that either the beaver guessed I wasn’t a tree in the middle of the stream after all OR I broke the spell of the moment by finally moving my rod. With the splash of its tail, the beaver was gone. But afterwards, I was content to cast several more times upstream, allowing my fly to lazily drift with the current. It was like a great weight lifted off my shoulders. And, even if just for the moment, I could forget about whatever troubles might be out there. Oh yeah, and I caught a few trout too. I guess “catch and release” can mean more than just catching a fish and letting it go. It could also be learning to “let go” of negative aspects of one’s life — like a failed relationship. Or maybe it could mean to “capture” good thoughts or ideas or memories — like a great day on the river — that strengthen one’s resolve and adds balance to one’s life. Kind of like “seize the moment”. Like the flow of the river. In with the good, out with the bad.
I was reading John Merwin’s “The New North american Trout Fishing” and he begins by stating: “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.” 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.” 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.

Mike Ormsby
Somewhere on a River (hopefully?!?!?)
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