I like to fly fish. Well, if I can call it fishing. I walk through rivers and streams with funny waterproof pants attempting catch a trout with a small object that resembles a super moldy jelly-bean. Now, I usually go fly fishing with a more experienced, we’ll say passionate, person than I will ever be. Some others, in particular my wife and his, would say that Isak is obsessed with fly fishing. I mean he even goes fishing in New Jersey. I think obsessed might be an understatement.
When I fish it is less about the trout and more about getting lost. Not physically lost; rather, lost in the moment. When you fly fish there is nothing but the river, your fly and hopefully a trout lurking below. There is no room for thoughts about work, family, money, only the moment. There can be no lapse in concentration or you will lose your one chance to hook your quarry.
The reality is that I am a terrible fly fisherman. I rarely catch the trout I am searching for. I don’t have the knack, skill or passion Gus does in The River Why. I just don’t focus long enough to learn which flies I should put on the hook. But the reason I fish is to get lost, not catch a beautiful rainbow trout.
A great example of my skill as a fly fisherman comes from last summer when Isak and I went to Michigan with our wives for summer vacation. Isak and I decided to head out to the Pere Marquette river to see what a blue ribbon river looked like. It was beautiful. The river snaked through the forest carving its own simple path. The water was flowing glass, cold and frothy at points. I couldn’t help craving a cold beer looking into that water.
We tried our hands at a few nice holes and runs on the river as we tromped upstream searching for those famed brown trout. As we came around a bend in the river we watched a hatch emerge out of the water. It was like watching individual excited dandelion seeds rising out of the river. They gently floated off the water as the trout below nabbed as many as they could before leaving the water. I watched while Isak figured what was rising off the water.
I fish because there is nothing like standing in the middle of the river feeling the water rushing past my legs trying to force its will on me. Standing, focusing on a tiny white dandelion seed floating precariously on the top of the water hoping to see it vanish in a blip. In that instant, that blip is a rush unlike anything else. I pull, hoping to feel the line go taught, the rod bend towards the rushing water with a silver flash running upstream. I rarely see that, but I am not discouraged. I fish because there is nothing else in the world; just the rushing beer bottle colored water, a speck of white and my anticipation of what may never come.