Fishing: Too Fast

It was a glorious day. Sunny skies with occasional white puffy clouds. Fresh, clean mountain air. A slight breeze. And the location was to die for. An alpine lake fed by a waterfall and glacial melt, surrounded by mountains and wildflowers everywhere. 

I had 2 hours of free time, and I knew how I wanted to spend it. 

Hiking around the lake I found a steep slope leading to a perfectly hidden small bay area with just enough open space to allow for some learning. This was my fifth time ever really fly fishing. I am no expert, and really didn't know what I was doing.

Over the course of the hour and a half or so, I learned how to better cast and lay the fly on the water. I caught several trees and plants along the shoreline behind me, until I didn't (or at least didn't as much). I figured out that the fish didn't really care for several of the flies I tried, until I saw a bee flying around. The bee-looking fly in my box got tied on, and the fish started lighting it up.  

I've never caught fish so beautiful. Some were colorful Cutthroat trout, others... I have no idea what kind of trout they were. In the space of an hour I caught 9. Speckled, sparkling in the sunlight, with flashes of bright red. More than once I wondered if they were bleeding when I pulled them in, but no- they are just that brightly colored.

And better yet, I was getting better. I started to figure out the rhythm for whipping the rod back and forth, creating long flowing trails of line until it was as long as I wanted and then laying it on the water with minimal ripples. Pursuing the perfect cast.

Later that day I spent over an hour fishing another spot and didn't even get a bite. I could see the fish swimming around. I was using the same bait, the same tactics, and nothing. They would swim up, look at it, and run away. It didn't matter how perfect the cast was or what fly was tied on the end. They really didn't care. Talk about frustrating!

Fishing is not a sport for the impatient. It is not a sport for people who are dead-set on accomplishing something. Don't get me wrong- you can have some intense moments of excitement; but most of the time fishing forces you to slow down. 

I let several dads and sons try casting my fly rod, while I coached them (only slightly better than the blind leading the blind). The most common mistake I saw was that they were trying to whip the rod forward way to hard and fast. When they forcefully threw the line forward, it got coiled up on itself and all would land with a slap in a pile on top of itself- which isn't likely to entice a fish.

In fly fishing, when you try too hard, you get tangled up. To be successful, you have to relax, slow down, and feel.

It's not just fly fishing advice, as you can probably put together by now. I have a solid history of running hard and fast, burning out and getting tangled up, unsure of how I got there. My rhythm of rest gets out of sync. On vacations, it takes several days to untangle myself. On the weekends, I subconsciously measure the quality of my day based on what I achieved, or got done, often entering the week just as exhausted as when I left it. Does that sound familiar? 

What is driving you to go too fast?

What is scary about the idea of slowing down? What sounds glorious?


 Cody Buriff, Director of Resource Initiatives

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