Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do Your Best

I realize it's been a long time since my last post. Hopefully all my devoted fans out there haven't given up on me... The truth is, this last weekend was only my second time fishing since Christmas. Pathetic, I know. Especially for someone like me who is constantly raving about how much I love it.

I went fishing up on the Ogden River a couple weeks ago, but for some reason the old spark just wasn't there. I began to wonder if fly fishing was just a phase and maybe I didn't really like it after all. I kept waiting for the urge of 'I have to go fishing or I'll explode', but it didn't happen. It's been so cold outside lately and the fishing hasn't been all that great and I just wasn't in the mood. I couldn't really put my finger on what was wrong with me.

On Friday I was driving home from work, listening to the weather report on the radio. They mentioned that it was supposed to be in the mid-forties on Saturday and I thought, "Well, maybe I should get out fishing again. I've only used my new vest once, and I need to keep my skills up." Call it a coincidence, but that evening Seth mentioned that maybe we should go out fishing tomorrow. It had been several weeks since we'd gotten out of the house after all.

On Saturday morning, we got up at our usual late time and casually went about our morning. I prepared the standard weekend breakfast of waffles and bacon, while Seth read his book on the couch. Then, just as if he was reading my mind, Seth said, "Well, maybe we should get ready to go fishing huh?"

I was actually excited to get outside. I needed some fresh air and we were headed back up to the Weber River, my good old standby. She's kind of an unpredictable river, but I guess that's what I like about her.

We went up to a new spot that I'd never been to between Coalville and Wanship. We climbed over the rustic fisherman's ladder and trucked across a cow pasture towards the river. One last duck under an electric fence and we were there. The little stretch of river we'd come to was just beautiful. The water wasn't as low as some of the other spots along the canyon and actually had some deceptively deep spots. I screened the river with the small net I kept in the back of my vest and found an astonishing number of large sow bugs. Much larger than they were in previous months. I decided to put on a hares ear nymph with an iridescent wing casing and the biggest sow bug I had in my box as the dropper. Apparently it had been a little too long since my last fishing trip because I forgot how to tie a Surgeon's Knot. Seth gave me a refresher course though, and soon I was all rigged up and ready to go.

I went to the most promising looking hole I've seen in a long time, about 50 yards down from Seth. Not more than a couple minutes into fishing, another fly-fisher came by and we chatted for a minute about the typical things... how many fish had been caught, what we were using, etc. It was about 1:00pm at the time and the guy said he'd been there since 10:00am and had only caught one whitey. His buddy talked to Seth later on and said he hadn't caught anything. I wasn't too discouraged though because I just started the day and figured I was probably better than this guy.

We ended up fishing for several hours and didn't land anything. I may have snagged one or two momentarily, but not long enough to know if it was actually a fish or a twig at the bottom of the river. Although it would have been nice to catch something, it didn't mean as much as it does sometimes. I was having a good day. My casts were smooth, my drifts were nice, I wasn't getting snagged or tangled every two minutes. There were thin sheets of ice formed on the water and every once in a while I'd see one that'd broken off from the bank, drifting down in the current. I even broke a couple off myself and watched them glide along the rapids. It was relaxing and it was fun.

I noticed that I tend to compare myself to other people too much. It's one of the weaknesses I'm trying to overcome. Today nobody was catching anything and for once I felt like I was normal. There was no pressure and I could just sit back and fish and enjoy my surroundings. It's the days when everybody else seems to be catching them but me that I start to get frustrated and angry. That can be helpful sometimes, because it can motivate you to ask for help, but most of the time it's just destructive. It's impossible to fish well went you're angry and usually it just makes a bad day worse. I think fish can sense the bad vibes (and so can the trees and bushes!). You can do things just as well as everyone else and for one reason or another, it's just not your day. During times like those I try to be happy for other people and their success instead of letting the green eyed monster bring me down. It's hard to do sometimes. My niece, Lily, is five years old and takes karate lessons. Whenever she shows us her routine, she begins and ends with a bow saying, "Do your best." Maybe I should start doing that when I fish.

I also realized that I need to fish because I WANT to, not because I need to write another post on my blog, or because everyone expects me to or because I claim to love it so much. If I start to do it because I feel like I HAVE to, it'll just turn into a burden, just like so many other things. The good news is, I discovered that I actually do really like fishing. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think some absence is all I really needed. I love you fish.