I often wonder what my world would look like if I hadn’t taken up fly fishing and become an angler. I seem to have found the ability to accept that this is how it’s meant to be. Fishing is now so much a part ofmy life that it seems impossible to be anything else, and the decisions that we make are based around the consequences that it will have (good and bad) on time spent on the water.
At times I feel that I have lost some of my finer social skills and that I spend to much time on my own, and there can be moments when I may be a little less tolerant of people that don’t fish than I should be. The upside? I feel part of the natural world, the more I fish the more reconnected I become, time spent on the water seems to heighten all my senses, helps me to see and hear at a different level, and hopefully helps me become the person that I have always wanted to be. Does this make me a better fisherman? I don’t know, but I have no doubt it has made me a better person.
It was only the other day that my wife rang me to let me know that a massive hatch was on in the small rural town that she works in, and all these bugs had drifted up from the river. It came to me then that Alice long ago had simply accepted it, and that life for us would be a different path, our friends are the same and we have all managed to make a life doing what we love, if this is how its going to be, then on we go. I sometimes wonder if a person could ever turn back or walk away from this life, who knows the answer, but I hope this is something that I never have to confront.
These things always lead to far more questions than answers but that if nothing else may be the true essence of fly fishing, the eternal search for answers to questions that to most people never need to be asked but to you and I form the fundamental building blocks in what will be a life long passion. The desire to learn from others in any form grabs us all, whether it be a book, a friends quiet advice, fishing the stream that you love, or sitting with friends having a beer, it doesn’t matter, they all form part of this wonderful journey that we are on.
I am older and recognise my place in the world, and to be honest, sometimes I can approach my fishing with the look of someone in a hurry, these moments are rare, but when they do come upon me I seem to be able to look at them with some small sense of worth, of course I know nothing, but I know more than I did at the beginning. And on that rare day when things all fall your way and the fish that you have been watching through the long summer grass has kept feeding while you slide down the bank, and you cast up a small black spinner that you tied on that horrible night in the middle of winter, you see him take it as though it where a gift from heaven, and as you head back, you stop and celebrate with a handful of streamside blackberries still warm from the afternoon sun.
Winters in Tasmania can be cold and to the uninitiated there may seem a bleakness to the whole affair, this is just not the case, behind so many doors are families, friends, individuals and fishing mates, laughing, telling stories, tying flies and gearing up for the season to come. In these moments you are free to talk, think, read and dream as only an angler can, and to discuss with your partner, your kids and your mates all that can be achieved and all that can be enjoyedas we head on our path to be the best fisherman that we were destined to be.