May 2nd, 2005

When Size Doesn't Matter
By James Castwell


From the first times I can remember, fishing was about something material. Numbers of perch, buckets of smelt, how many fillets, pounds of assorted fishes, and then the sizes of things like salmon became of importance. Yes, certainly, I can remember the fun of getting ready, going, actually fishing, coming home, cleaning the fish and putting away the fishing gear. But, mostly it was about fish bodies, caught, lost, landed, killed.

I was mentioning to the LF last week that I sure need to get out to the 'Fish In' in May. I will start sorting and stacking gear a week ahead of time. No waders, but a couple of Sage five weights, SA Trout lines, the right flies and I guess the new QC cane rod for the LF. Probably make a big heap on the davenport in the livingroom. We were remembering how we used to get ready for such things and what they meant to us both. We also agreed that some things have changed for us and we are not at all sure we like them.

First, it's just not the same. Oh yes, there is the anticipation of the trip, the fishing and the folks we will see there. But, no longer is there some of the mystery attached and we miss that. Here is the enigmatic part of it all. We are told to get to know a piece of water as well as we can. Ok, so we do that. We know when the stream will be clear of weeds, when the insects will hatch, when they will fall, which ones the trout will take and when, what size flies to use, what rods to take, and what size line and leader to use.

Now, I can remember plenty of times when the main plan for the weekend was to try to figure out what the heck they were feeding on, what size, when, how, where... you know the drill. The mystery was part of it. A big part and we miss it. Not everywhere, but in some places. Oh, it's still great fun to go and play with the fishies, but somehow not quite the same when the mystery is nearly gone.

I will try to inject some problems back into it of course. See if I can get the trout to accept a different fly perhaps. I have tried a Royal Coachman on occasion just to see what might happen. All too often if it was about the right size, the darn thing seemed to work just fine.

I can remember fishing a section of beach out here for salmon. We would wade out from shore, pitch our offerings into the churning surf and hope the gods attached something to them. After a few times of this though we had gathered enough information by watching what the bait was, what size and color etc. and were able to create a fly that has proven extremely effective.

I guess that's an important part, the mystery thing. If it gets too easy, some of the fun and 'magic' dissipates. I guess when we get to know a place too well, we really need to make it tougher on ourselves or look for new places where we will have to start all over. When you think about it, what's wrong with that idea? I guess what matters most now is the mystery. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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