This was an in class writing assignment for my college english class. Some background at the end of the essay.

Fly Fishing

I was only fifteen minutes into an hour long hike, and I knew my day was going to be a success. My backpack contained the items needed to turn a mundane day into a magnificent day. I hardly noticed the thirty pounds of weight tugging at my shoulders. The items in my pack were not a burden, but they were instruments of my escape. They were my escape from the perversions and chaos of the outside world. The contents of my backpack were simple in nature, yet divine in creation. Strapped to the side of my pack was a fly rod. The inside of my pack contained dreams. Dreams made of waders, a fishing vest, and boxes filled with an assortment of hand tied flies. I love the solitude of fly fishing, the endless hours of preparation, and the simplicity of it. Of my many hobbies, fly fishing is easily the most fulfilling.

The solitude often associated with fly fishing appeals to my nature. I enjoy the quiet hikes to forgotten streams and nameless lakes. The time spent alone on the hike is just the preface of the day. I am filled with awe when I arrive at a small stream that hasn?t been disturbed by man. My heart swells when I slip into the water and make the first cast of the day. The absence of others allows me time to forget about the outside world. During this time I only concentrate on the task at hand, fly fishing. Fly fishing allows me to focus on one thing and enjoy the solitude of the morning. Fly fishing is the vehicle for my escape, and it is an escape I need often.

Solitude isn?t the only endearing quality of fly fishing for me. The countless hours of preparation are just as important and gratifying as the solitude. I often times spend hours in the evening tying flies to fill my almost endless supply of fly boxes. I use the flies for fishing, but I view them as more than a means to catch fish. Much like a child anticipates Christmas morning with each ornament added to the tree, I anticipate fishing with each new fly tied. The time I spend mending waders, readying fly rods, and filling fly boxes are reminders of previous trips. The memories that I rediscover during these times of preparation are a key element to my enjoyment of the sport.

Fly fishing is oft times viewed as difficult, but I find it to be simplistic in nature. Fly fishing is one of the earliest forms of fishing. As such, the gear needed is usually very rudimentary in principle. The fly rod is a very simple piece of equipment. Early examples, and some present day rods, were constructed from bamboo. The reel, although often times over complicated today, usually serves as only a storage device for the line. In this regard fly fishing is very simple compared to other forms of fishing. The flies used to dupe fish are also simplistic in form, although they represent very complex creatures. Flies have been tied for hundreds of years, normally from natural hairs and fibers, to represent varying forms of aquatic insects. Fly fishing hasn?t changed much since its inception. It is this connection to the past that appeals most to me.
I consider fly fishing much more than a hobby. It is a way to view life and to find peace. The solitude I experience when fly fishing is essential for a healthy state of mind. The preparation and excitement associated with each day fly fishing helps to preserve my youth. I will forever enjoy my involvement with a sport that my ancestors enjoyed centuries ago. When people ask if I am a fisherman I always respond with a resounding ?yes?, but that yes is just a preamble to the words fly fisherman.

For some background, I was thinking about the years spent in Alaska when I wrote it. Also, although I am in a college english class, I am an old man of 39. Some how 21 years of military service has kept me occupied.

I hope you enjoyed it.

[This message has been edited by Fishcreek (edited 18 February 2005).]