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The Essence of Fly Fishing

Photo by Mark Strohl

After completing my fly fishing and fly tying courses, my friend and editor Alan Mittleman wrote an essay quoting John Gierach as saying that “fly fishermen believe that fly fishing teaches us something important about life, but none of them know what it is[JR1] .”

Well, this writer would like to give it a shot!

It’s the fauna, the flora, and the solitude. It’s the constant learning, the attempt to perfect the imperfectible. There are no grounds crews, greens fees, or lift tickets. You don't have to assemble a team to fly fish. There are no modems, motors or phones. It’s the predator-prey relationship where to the predator it’s a game, to the prey it’s life and death. There is no rush, no schedule.

It’s playing nature’s game, on nature’s terms.

It’s the people you meet, some nice, some not so nice.

It’s a campsite along a babbling brook, the smell of bacon, the pungent smell of hickory smoke and the aroma of a pine forest.

It’s strong black coffee on a chilly morning; a campfire and a nip of scotch at night.

It’s watching a ground squirrel stealing your peanuts while you study a trout rising in its feeding lie.

It’s birds singing, bees buzzing and loons crying. It’s discovering beautiful places and being alone with nature.

It’s learning to enjoy your own company, a chance to reflect. It’s problem solving.

In Reflections, Thoughts and Advice of a Trout Bum I reflect on pleasant and not so pleasant experiences, share some observations along the river of life and provide some tips on living and fishing alone in the wilder places, while learning how to be comfortable in your own skin.

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