In this piscatorial pursuit of ours it is pretty well known what the pleasures are. Things like hooking a big trout on a dry fly or that cast that has taken years to perfect. Then there are things like a stream so clear or hooking a wild fish and then watching it swim away, a trout so beautiful that your emotions take your breath away.
I was thinking about these things today and while still fresh in my feeble mind I thought that I'd better write some of mine down. Some of these little pleasures might seem a bit silly but to me it's just part and parcel to why I fish this way.
Do you get a little flush of excitement when you see the courier stopping his truck in front of your house to deliver your new fly rod? It's the culmination of all the anticipation of waiting for that new rod that you are sure will catapult your angling experience into the stratosphere. Same thing with a new reel and the ultimate small joy is when they are both delivered on the same day.
I also like the pleasure of filling a new fly box with flies. Arranging them according to type and size....what fun it is to do this when you can't be on the river.
I enjoy immensely the small maintenance tasks I do on my bamboo fly rods. By maintenance I mean applying a new coat of bri-wax on the cane in anticipation of the season to come. Anyone who has worked with bri-wax knows that it takes a bit of elbow grease but that is okay because I know it's a labor of love.
I particularly enjoy winding new backing and line on a reel. I used to secure the fly line to the backing with a nail knot and would work to tie the perfect knot to attach my line to. Alas the fly line manufacturers have gone to a loop to loop connection and so there is no need for a nail knot and I kind of miss it.
It's just the simple things isn't it? I suppose other recreational endeavors have these small joys as well but our joys are in anticipation of bigger things yet to come out on the stream.
Taking small pleasures in anything is what life is all about isn't it? I have never been able to understand the angler who "fishes angry" If you get so upset out on the river why do you fish? You would be surprised at the amount of people who fish that way. If some angry angler is ruining your day of fishing then just leave the area. There are other spots and other days to fish.
Once time, a few years ago, I was fly fishing the Sandy River with a friend. He hooked this big bright winter steelhead on a fly and got to fight it for a brief time. It jumped and ran and then came off. He was so upset that he threw his fly rod down in disgust at losing that fish. A big wild winter steelhead is a tough fish to take with a fly and anyone who has pursued them know this. Just to hook one is a huge accomplishment in and of itself. Landing a fish like that is the ultimate of course, but just hooking one is gigantic! I mentioned to him as he grieved at this lost steelhead, about how fortunate it was that he even got the chance to hook it. Some people go years and maybe even decades for that kind of opportunity. I think it got through to him because on the trip home he couldn't stop talking about the size and strength of that fish and his brief encounter with it.
I can honestly say that I have had very few bad days fly fishing. The small and large pleasures are plentiful and there is at least one every trip. Sometimes they are so small that you almost miss them but they are there. Go to the river with an attitude like that and you will always be a successful angler.