A True Connection

As seen in our August 10, 2023 Newsletter – Subscribe Here

Life is full of distractions. Never ending distractions. Phone notifications, corporate ‘work hours’ that these days seem to run seven days a week, sixteen hours a day. On top of that, juggling a family schedule and all those household chores that seem to melt time more effectively than a hot summer day melts an ice cream cone.

I had had enough. Despite the menacing rain clouds to the west, I grabbed my gear and jumped in the truck to head to the river. On my way, my mind was full of all the details of work and family life: Did I check that box in the software system no one really understands? Did I make it clear in my memo that ‘we’ assumed the 2024 notes will be refinanced? How can I be a better father? Am I listening enough? Am I too impatient when litigating with my 3-year-old? Does my child realize I would do anything for them? Wait, should they know that at this point?

But as I entered the canyon, my mind slowed down a little, with all those thoughts just lingering.

With the thunder rumbling, I thought, “Man, I am going to get wet this afternoon… but thankfully I remembered my rain jacket and there’s no lightning.” So I continued further into the canyon. Now, where to fish?

Canyon turn after canyon turn, I inspected the water and river structure of water I have been to and fished countless times in my life. Finally, I parked the truck at a pull-off and turned off the engine. I sat for a few minutes listening to the pitter patter of the rain. Glad I remembered the rain jacket. ”Time is money,” I thought… damn those corporate overlords… so I got out of the truck, grabbed my fishing gear and put on that rain jacket. Waders and boots, check. Rod and Reel, check. Socks, “dammit!”. Never mind, check.

I started the ritual of getting ready to fish, putting on all the gear while sitting on the tailgate. And yes, it is ritual for many of us. I thought about all the friends that have shared in this ‘gearing up’ ritual with me. So many beautiful memories of awesome days and weeks fishing together with friends. The distractions faded in my mind as my focus turned to thinking about all the incredible trips I have been on. I consider myself blessed to be able to fish in such beautiful place. My home water of this canyon. Much to be thankful for. Most certainly great friends, fishing adventures and epic days on the water.

Walking up stream from the truck I spotted a decent run with some nice BFRs (big fucking rocks; pronounced “Beefers”) on the banks and a few in the middle of the run. Not a bad spot, so I walked down to the bank and started fishing. The water was high for this time of year, so I started with a dry-dropper set-up. As a light drizzle fell from the sky, I carefully worked the water, watching my dry fly and looking for any moving shadows or flashes. As my fishing tempo got going, my mind slowed into the present.

Continuing to fish up the river after having no luck in that first section, I eventually changed to a double nymph. I hadn’t really seen any bug action to speak of, or fish feeding on top. I’ve learned lazy fisherman don’t win the ‘most fish caught in a day’ competition on Guys Fishing Weekend; if your set-up isn’t working, change it.

Eventually I moved back below the truck to scope the water. I continued walking down and found a great section with good structure. Approaching a different set of BFRs I slowly moved into the river and started casting, mending the line and waiting for the feeling of a take. I had entered the fishing trance at this point: a clear mind, focused only on the water, my technique, and breathing. The rain was accelerating a bit but was so beautiful. I moved to the other side of the river and continued fishing in the same run with nice depth change.

Starting at the tail of a rock I worked my way up. Breathing, casting, mending and watching. And then there it was about a foot behind the boulder, a quick flash, and feeling of a take, I lifted the rod tip and boom, fish on! The fishing meditation continued while I brought the fish to the net. A true connection to yourself, the fish and your surroundings.

I released the fish and headed back to the truck. Each step filled with the thoughts of all the epic days of fishing with various friends over the last twenty years. Fishing is a true connection to yourself, nature and an amazing way to spend time with and make friends.

Tight lines.

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