Monday, September 7, 2009

On a Recent Float on the Caney Fork---Fly Fishing Reminds Me Again of Important Life Lessons

WAS LAST TALKING about fly fishing and the inevitable life lessons it brings to mind every single time I go to the river....before I so rudely interrupted myself, leaving the computer behind for the real world over the long Labor Day weekend. While I don't want to belabor this, I will nonetheless give a few below. These pics are from my trip last Thursday with David Perry of Southeastern Fly. He took them as we floated the Caney, a tailwater fishery just below Center Hill Dam. David is one of the best guides I've seen either here or out West. Aside from being knowledgeable, smart with a good sense of humor, he wears well over a long stretch of time and river. On any given float trip, a fisherman can and usually does go through various weather conditions, stream flows, emotions, frustrations as well as some wonderful highs. Sometimes a fisherman will have nothing to rejoice over other than just being out on the river. And sometimes, sometimes can be a very long time.You don't always get even the species you want, but you always get, you always get....just what the need!
If you're not genuinely thankful for the little things, and the chance to pay your dues, then the big things may never come....and they may never come anyway. Be glad just to be there, even when it's slow, hot or cold, unproductive and not ideal.......I'll be the first to say it's much easier said than done.


I'm a dry fly fisher. I live and breathe dry flies or topwater fishing. There's nothing like seeing a fish come to the surface and take your fly. I've gotten fairly decent at it over the years. After that, my second love is streamer fishing but only when there's no hope for a dry.

Last and least of all, I will begrudingly nymph fish, which means going under the surface down deeper with the fly. Only when I have to. I'm not that good at nymphing but on the Caney, I'm firmly convinced, cause David tells me so, I have to do it sometimes if I want to catch fish. For most of this trip, I took David's good advice and cast (not one, but two) nymphs. As I forced myself to fish this way, I learned a some things and am getting better at ti. All the fish above were caught on a nymph.

But as the afternoon wore on and things got slower and slower, stiller and stiller, I found myself beginning to disconnect from my rod, my fly and the river. My mind started to wander as I wondered how far it was to the take-out.

My enthusiasm was drying up, my focus disappearing and worse of all my cast was getting terribly sloppy. My eyes began to glaze over. I was coming unglued before my, and David's eyes. I thought for while and then I made the decision to rebel! I realized I couldn't take nymphing no mo!

"David, I'm done nymphing today. If I'm going to not catch fish this afternoon, then I'm going to not catch them my way. I want to go back to the surface on a dry. At least I can entertain myself and perhaps get my interest back. Shall we tie one on?"

David couldn't have been more supportive. He agreed it was time to jazz things up.
"Got a great hopper pattern I want you to try," he said as he pulled it out. "Go for it; we're coming to a great rocky bank around the corner and it's gonna work fine," he assured me....

Within ten minutes I hooked a big fish and lost him. It didn't matter. My adrenaline and focus were starting to rise. I was having fun again.....

The rest is history: The rocks. The cast. The float. The take. The hook-set. The fight. The play. The net. The photos of the biggest rainbow---20''--of the season in David's boat. It was a beauty and it was a team effort! Then the release back to the wild. We were both completely pumped.

The moral of this story? If I told you I'd have to kill you. So I'll let you figure it out..... but who was it that said, "To thine own self be true? Then thou cans't not be false to any man?"

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