Neil Travis - Mar 25, 2013

journal - the importance of having fun

Fun – a time or feeling of enjoyment or amusement, something that provides enjoyment or amusement.

During the winter months – November through March – the Ladyfisher and I spend our time in Arizona. It's not much for fishing, at least not the kind of fishing that I prefer, but the weather is nice. We live in an age restricted; gated community and we have a chorus that is composed of people that live in the community. I'm the director of the chorus and we sing for events in the community and assisted living facilities around the area. I'm one of the younger members and I am quickly approaching my 3 score and 10. Most of the members are in their late 70's and 80's and several of our members are in their early 90's. Each year when we start practicing I tell all of the chorus members that we are not going to be discovered by an agent looking for hidden talent, and if anyone decides that it's no longer fun then they should quit and go do something else. Life, especially at our age, is too short to spending it doing something that is not fun.

Over the years we have published many technical articles about the various aspects of fly fishing, and when I read through the posts on the bulletin board I find many technical discussions taking place among our readers. In addition, we get requests for help from our readers, mostly from individuals that are just beginning in the sport. We try to answer their questions so that they can enjoy fly fishing like we have and find out how much fun it can be.

Some of us have a tendency to make everything that we do some form of competition. Some have a tendency to make everything very serious. For some people these things add to the fun, but for others these are the fun killers.

Below are my three rules for having fun and it's by no means an exhaustive list, but I think it covers the basics.

Three rules for having fun:

  1. Remember that your fun is not necessarily someone else's fun.
  2. Just because you don't enjoy it doesn't mean that it's wrong.
  3. Unless you are involved in some type of competition where a prize or trophy is involved fly fishing is not a competition between you and other anglers.

I enjoy competition, but in fly fishing my competition is between myself and the fish. I'm not at all interested in competing with a fellow angler. I don't care if someone caught more or bigger fish than I did, if they can cast farther than I can, if they tie better flies than I do, or if they have newer equipment than I do; but if that's important to them that's fine, but it's meaningless to me.

I tend to be a serious angler. Part of the fun of fly fishing, for me, is the challenge of knowing as much about the sport as possible. I enjoy the challenging situation; the complex hatch, selectively feeding fish, and catching good fish on small flies. However, there are many anglers that only desire to be able catch some fish. They don't necessarily want to fish for challenging fish, they just want to catch some fish and the easier it is the better.
I'm not a trophy angler but I don't enjoy fishing in a place where the possible of catching a big fish doesn't exist. Some anglers revel in finding small streams and spending the day catching small fish from teacup sized pools. To them an eight inch brook trout that rose to their fly on a stream that you can step across is every bit as exciting as that twenty inch brown trout that sipped in my size 20 dry fly on the Bighorn. May their tribe increase, but that's not my idea of a good time.

For me fun encompasses the idea that what I'm doing is really unimportant in the overall scheme of things, and that the world is neither better nor worse for my day on the water. In a world where everything has some underlying symbolism and hidden meaning it's refreshing to me to know that what I'm doing has no real importance to anyone but me. That's what makes fly fishing fun for me. What makes fly fishing fun for you? I hope you enjoy many days pursuing fun this coming year and for many more years to come. 

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