By Andrew Fowler
To fish alone, is to inoculate oneself against one’s own ostentatiousness. Provided you don’t boast about it afterwards, it is to score one for humility. To head out there alone with a fly rod in hand is to put ones vanity in the back of the cupboard and close the door.
To head out there alone with a fly rod in hand is to put ones vanity in the back of the cupboard and close the door.
It is also an opportunity. An opportunity to re-set the compass in your life, to think deeply on things, and to decide afresh who you will be in this world. You will not return with pictures of yourself with large Trout. None of your friends from the pub will share the story about the fish you lost. Neither will that day become the subject of banter, admiration, or friendly competition. You will have ventured forth to find fish for yourself, and the venture will have done nothing to promote you, or make known your prowess. You will be alone under the sky of that day, and the memories of it will not be saved in the vault of human knowledge. If we assume that you returned all fish you caught, and may I suggest that you do so, the day will be without evidence. If you took photos, they will be timeless landscapes, not linked to you.
A day with fishing friends is a rich and priceless thing. So is a day alone, but it is less inclined to advertise itself. It is the unmarked envelope in the Church collection. It is the artwork without a signature. It is also the invisible beacon of a person. A pointless thing of immeasurable value. It is in hours alone in the countryside that you are made.
Un-surrounded, and unmatched, a fly-fisherman must sustain his determination to hike further, and stalk more fish, even though no one will ever know.
Un-surrounded, and unmatched, a fly-fisherman must sustain his determination to hike further, and stalk more fish, even though no one will ever know. He will reach into his inner self to determine if he will lie in the grass beside the pickup and watch clouds before driving home or if he will hike up the valley and stalk a small Trout with a tiny dry fly in the face of an approaching rainstorm.
You are alone on a mountain stream. The weather looks doubtful. You have caught some fish already. The section ahead looks tricky to wade. No fish are rising. There is hot coffee to drink back at the pickup, or cold water swirling about your legs. If, around the next corner you lose a lunker, have a close call with a puff adder, or see a rare bird, it will be something to bank in your memory. It will not make you a hero. Think back on the days when you ventured on; and think back on the ones when you retreated.
Will you explore an unknown stream, which may be devoid of fish, or will you seek the cover of a glossy magazine.
In these days of freeways, airports, power lines and telephones, the world will value the photo of you with a big fish. Will you choose the time alone up that valley with your fly rod? Will you explore an unknown stream, which may be devoid of fish, or will you seek the cover of a glossy magazine.
Who AM I?
This calls for a day on the stream. Alone.
Source: Vagabond Fly Mag