Why On The Fly
By Harry P. Davis
some point in life we have to step outside of our mortal lives and ask
ourselves, "Why? My friends, acquaintances and some total strangers try
to convert me from fly fishing to some other perversion of angling like
bait or spin casting. It’s like a full time job for some of them to sow
doubt in my fields of flying by constantly haranguing, "You can’t fly
fish around here…nobody flyfishes around here…that’s for mountain
streams you know. There’s no mountain streams around here…you gotta use
bait around here!"
Sometimes when I get skunked ,
like most of the time lately (read MUD ON THE FLY)…I want to go steal
some BIG zoo fish, stick a fly in its mouth, bring ‘em to my friends…and
lie! Fish that are not from these waters…TIGER fish…MEKONG CATFISH!
Just drive up to my friend’s
house, honk the horn while holding up a 90 pound BARRAMUNDI with a
wooley bugger hanging from its eye and yell, "9 WEIGHT!" Grin real big
and drive off into the night. They don’t know what a 9 weight is of
course so, what’s the use… "That’s no 9 weight! That fish is a HUNDRED
POUNDS! You can’t catch hundred pound fish on a fly rod AROUND HERE!"
Even better…I want to come
around from their backyard Oriental rock pond…knock on the back door,
hold up my catch and yell, "COY ON A nymph!"
I know I’m obsessed with
flinging a knot full of feathers and string back and forth all day but
it’s a great obsession. It’s not fattening and you stay out of trouble….
unless you count that early Montana blizzard and the Brazilian Women’s
Roll Casters Club when…well…never mind. Loses something in the
interpretation…tell Pedro, I was just showing Maria how to hold a spey!
It’s not that I totally
hate other styles of fishing – I know how to do them- I just can’t see
wasting a perfectly good day on the water fishing any other way. My
hands can hold a spinning outfit just fine and I’ve threaded my share of
juicy night crawlers onto bass hooks…BIG DEAL!
Still, there’s something deeper,
darker yes, more serious surrounding the fellowship of the fly.
I think it has something to do
with mindset and heart-set rather than just a choice of angling tools.
Heart-set goes deep and as deep
calls to deep so some hearts call to the depths of fly angling and it
calls back. This explains why some children see an old man fly casting
on the bank of a river and fall into an irredeemable love affair with
plastic coated backing fastened to a hideous curved weapon fastened with
twine, herl and glue; pretending to be a cute little June bug. …strange
Strange yes, but love
nevertheless. What else explains the obsession of knowing everything
about who, what, when, where and why on the fly, if not love?
The who, what when and where are
important but aren’t they more names, facts and places rather than soul.
Each has its place and builds upon and enhances the why and of course
the art and craft of the fly would be shallow and lifeless without
knowing others who share our passion.
We need to know how to operate
the equipment. Researching dates of discovery and accomplishments allow
us to touch base with the roots of our sport and flesh out who we are
and what we are a part of.
The "why" is untouchable…more essence
We may take our romance with fly
fishing all the way to water itself but not too far down that road as to
belittle our attraction into mere chemicals searching for liquid
atmosphere to mix with.
Why goes deeper than just the
fly or even the fishing and much deeper than just DNA or some gene pool
experimentation…even to the depths of our wallets. Why else would we
spend several hundred bucks on a metal cylinder that simply winds up
string on a pole?
I think it has to do with
Poetry and the arts are things
unseen as far as the initial spark goes right? No one can hold the
inspiration of a poem or a painting and say, "Here’s the source of that
poem!" No, not really. We can say the poet saw something in the little
crag in the wall and it inspired him or "there once was a common lady
with a sullen smile who just had to be painted and then hundreds of
years later that same portrait of Mona Lisa sold for millions. But, does
this really capture "WHY" the poet/painter HAD to capture that moment in
time with the tools of his/her creative trade? Not really.
beckons...and fly angling captures more than just fish but, we will
never capture the "why"!
By Harry P. Davis ©