I have determined that I am growing younger.
Got it all figured out. You see, there are two
ways to look at things, most things anyway, and
I have made a choice. Actually I made the choice
many years ago. However I am not sure if it was
a conscious one or, like many things I do, an
unconscious one. But no matter, the choice was
made and it was to grow younger, not, of all
Here is how I see it, life that is, and how one
chooses to live it. Yesterday I was younger than
I am today. Today I am younger than I will be
tomorrow. And we all know "tomorrow never comes."
Now, if it does come, I will be younger tomorrow
than the day after. Right? Sure I am right. There
seems only one day when I will be old; the day
when I am no longer younger than the next day which
will not dawn for me. So, all in all, not too bad;
one day old and all the rest younger. Works for me.
I have not retired yet, I am one of the lucky ones,
I don't have to retire. With a job like this who
would want to? Oh sure, many go fishing a lot more
than I do, but I get to live the fly-fishing world
every day. That I have an obligation to do so does
not count. The point is I do it every day, and I
like it. I eat, sleep and live it. Every day I am
in communication with all sorts of those in our
sport. The big, the little and all in between.
Wonderful folks all. So each day I look forward,
ever onward, full steam ahead.
Sometimes events will jog memories, sometimes
useful memories, sometimes I write about them.
Like the guys on the bulletin board lately about
C & R. And C & K (keep). And should a trout be
killed because it took a dry fly and therefore
will not take a dry again. Therefore it will only
eat below the surface and that is considered boorish.
Reminded me of a time when I was younger.
There was a stretch of the main stream of the
blue-ribbon Au Sable river in Michigan that we knew
by heart. I mean we had figured out what all the
bugs were, where the trout were and how to present
each to each. As is often the case, I tend to
remember times when I did not catch any fish over
some where I did. This was one of the former. We
did not catch a fish. But, then again, we did not
cast to any.
It was late in the season, spawning time for the
brookies. There is no more brightly adorned trout
than the brookie when he is on his way to the party,
and in the fall these little char dress for the
event. The water was low and running slow. Clear
as ever and the light was the gentle yellow-green
just before evening. The LF and I had geared up,
waders, cane rods, the right fly. As we watched
from the path along the river we could see many
fish dimpling the surface snatching some little
dries. Some were bulging on the nymphs making their
way to the top. Others were taking the emergers and
some the emerged duns.
We started to wonder why we were there at all.
The insects were doing their own thing. The fish
were having dinner. Was it right that we should
walk into the scene and screw it up? Jerk some
poor fish out of his element and spoil his evening,
just so we could count him in some sort of way?
Would any of this bring us pleasure? How many would
we injure or even kill? How would our presence
I can see the point if we were fishing for food.
Catch and Kill makes sense to me. Mans dominion
over nature, our birthright etc. We are the top
of the food chain and you better believe it bub,
kind of stuff. But to interfere with a situation
that was in sync, one that was functioning as a
complete circle, would this be a correct thing for
us to do. I don't know and we didn't know then
either. But we did just sit there and watch the
whole show from act one to the end.
If we hadn't known exactly what fly to use, exactly
where each fish was and it's size. If we hadn't
figured all this out over the many days and seasons
would it have been alright? Perhaps. But not when
there was no challenge left. Nothing to be learned
and therefore nothing to be gained. There was no
pay-off. No reward. Only guilt.
Would some have considered us absolutely nuts?
Probably. What had we gone there for? Enjoyment?
A lovely evening? Satisfaction? Contentment? A
chance and a time to share with our partner? Do
we both still remember that time when we didn't
catch a darn thing? Did we accomplish what we
were after? Absolutely. ~ James Castwell