February 17th, 2003

It's Just a Stick
By James Castwell

There is not a whole lot a guy can do these days by himself to amount to much of anything. It seems our society demands we all 'be team players,' for whatever that may be worth. Personally I don't think much of the idea. First of all, are we supposed to work for someone who is obviously not as smart as we? You can see how silly the whole concept can be.

Oh sure, there are times when the team thing is imperative, the military comes immediately to mind, but, I am referring to much of what we do for a living. Things like, 'Don't make waves,' 'Keep your head down,'and in the old west it was 'Ride for the brand.' However we all have psychological needs to be filled, itches that need scratching. Fly-fishing can offer that to a certain lucky few so inclined.

We have an inner longing for fulfillment of our selves, the need to 'be somebody,' to 'be recognized' as more than just a fine 'team player.' The searching and learning which fly-fishing offers is a constant lure, a sirens call to those with ears to hear and minds to follow. And we want it right now.

Yes. Today we want everything right now, fast is the operative word for everything. It matters not that many can't pass a grade in school, social-pass them outta there, move 'em on. Faster cars get you there faster, bigger and faster PC's, crash courses in everything imaginable. Not so with fly-fishing though. Or, at least it should not be so.

Fly-fishing is not something I do. Oh, yes, I 'do' fly fish, but, fly-fishing is far more than that. It is a state of being, a way of life, a code of ethics. It is a journey, not a destination, and here is where so many fail to notice the real truth in their headlong pursuit of the rewards of 'becoming a fly-fisherman.' The truth is, you are a fly-fisherman when you say you are. Only you can define yourself, no one else. A person with only one fly rod is as much a fly-fisher as he who has a hundred. He who only fishes a few days a year is as much as any who fish nearly every day. It is not so much about what you have, how often you use it, but how you feel about it.

There are those who in the eternal quest for the goal will buy more and more equipment, take lessons, try to learn as much from anyone who will help them, and make work of it. The fly rod for instance; yours is good enough. So is your reel and line and boots and vest and flies and all the rest of your stuff; it's all just fine. The real fly-fishing is out there, out on the stream, that's where it is and that is where you will learn more about it. Sure, you can read, take lessons, and all that, but, you will only learn fly fishing by doing it. And doing it some more, and some more.

Try not to get all hung up on your equipment, get hung up instead on a branch with your back-cast. It is great to think about it, read about it, learn about it, and even live it. But, the real deal is doing it. Be observant of everything around when you are on the stream or lake, take it all in. Study the water, it's seams, the weeds, bugs, stones, everything you can see. Your fly rod is just a stick, there is so much more to it than that.

P.S. I won't be here next week, I will be bone fishing. Wait a week and then Click Here for next weeks issue. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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