The older I get the more it seems like there is always something I need to learn. So what did this old broke down fly fisherman learn in 2008 that he will carry over to 2009?...plenty!
First of all I learned the scorched earth approach to conservation is not always the best way to rally folks to your cause. I am abrupt and abrasive and tend to beat up those who do not have the urgency for wild fish conservation I do.
Needless to say I've alienated a few folks with my doomed crusade to save coastal cutthroat trout and I definitely was too insensitive to people circumstances and will strive to do better in 2009.
My passion blinded me to the different life situations that people deal with which might make it hard for them to give time to the causes of wild trout and salmon.
Now bear in mind I still intend to hold those people who make a profit on the backs of wild salmon, steelhead and trout accountable for their actions or, in the case of the owner of the largest internet fishing forum in the Pacific Northwest, inaction. It's just inexcusable to make money but give little back in return!
The same goes for any person(s), whether he be a fishing guide or tackle manufacturer, that makes money on wild salmonids.
So if you think I am talking about you then I probably am.
Okay then, you might be wondering if I learned anything in 2009 about fly fishing. I can assure you I learned plenty.
Whether it was becoming a better spey caster thanks to good friends like Mike McCune and John Bracke or just a more observant fly fisherman in general I learned that this sport I love so much is an ever evolving learning experience.
I long ago abandoned the "numbers" aspect of angling. I had my years of putting up big numbers and catching a lot of fish. Yes it is fun to catch fish but the stress and pressure of being a fishing superstar is something I found to less than desirable.
You take a calm stretch of water on a late summer or early fall day and watch the surface come alive as the various insect hatches take place....it's magic! I think I might just take the point off of my fly a few times this next year just to feel the take.
You cannot love something like that when your only intention is filling a freezer full of fillets or eggs for bait. An angler whose reward is to have as many pictures of himself posted on the internet holding a gasping fish up for a hero picture is, in my opinion, immature and does not get the point of it all.
I am not saying I've reached the "Zen" of fly fishing, whatever that is,but my angling life is becoming less and less complicated the older I get.
In 2008 I am learned to be more contented in my fly fishing experience. I hope to be even more so in 2009.
My hope for 2009 for each and every one of you that pay attention to my ponderings here on The Quiet Pool is simply this.
Learn to enjoy the simplicity which the river offers. We are here for such a preciously short time that any time spent in strife over how many fish you may or may not catch is just wasted time. I am learning this and hope to have many more years of learning this.
I would also hope that you will intensify your fight for wild fish in 2009 because they are worth it.
Happy New Year and tight lines in 2009.