PIECE FOR PAJAMAS MEDIA
EVERYONE WHO FLY FISHES FOR LONG has tales of the big ones they've caught and released. I know I sure do. Most of time, they involve playing a trout well, getting it to the net for a good look and photo op, removing the barbless hook then releasing it back to the watery denizens from whence it came. The whole process is one of life's greatest natural highs and adrenaline rushes.
Then there are those sad, sad stories of the BIG ONES that got away.
When relationships go south our tendency is to project blame on the other, exonerate ourselves and walk away having gained, at least in our own minds, a certain sense of self-righteousness and righteous indignation. Taking that kind of stance keeps us in a permanent state of puerile victimhood and frequently makes for less skill and understanding in the next go-round of relationships.
It's always sad myth-making when we take ourselves off the hook of culpability so easily, only focusing on what's wrong out there. But that's another post, for another day.
If however you decide to learn to fly fish, you very quickly ascertain that there's no one else to blame but yourself when a big one gets away. After all, it's a fish's sole job to throw that hook and scram as fast as it can. It's the fisherman's skilled job not to let that happen. When it does, the fisher had best figure out what went wrong, learn the lessons and get on with being better for the whole damn frustrating experience.
Enough philosophizing. Last weekend I lost a big one after successfully bringing in two nice fish while fishing with David Perry of Southeast Fly. It was a heart breaker since it was the biggest catch of the day. I've gone over and over in my mind this week the details of this. Stuff like this happens, but it should never happen the same way twice.
While I won't bore my few readers with most of the details that lead to my losing this nice, big fish, I will say that it involved 1) using a piece of equipment I was unfamiliar with---David had loaned me a rod and reel--with an drag system I wasn't used to--- and 2) trying to do something that I don't normally do--- playing the fish from the reel rather than off the reel through my fingers--my greatest strength---like I usually do, and 3) bringing the fish almost to David's net, getting a good look then deciding to letting it run again. In other words, I had him at the net and decided to show off by going another round of playing him.
Then heartbreak! My line temporarily caught in the drag system and the fish immediately took advantage of my momentary dis-repair, sprung the line and bested my best efforts to bring him in again.
NO CIGAR, big time for me.
Suffice it that I got the hard lessons. And after all's said and done-- can not wait to get back out there and do it all again!!
The ones that get away always offer us the greatest, biggest, brightest opportunities to grow and grow up and to enlarge our repertoire of skills. That's why I passionately love and learn from this fabulous sport called fly fishing. And occasionally apply these lessons to other parts of my life.