Jump to content

My beloved passion is too complicated


Recommended Posts

Perhaps it is age; perhaps it is time. Perhaps it is both; when the years and one’s dwindling sense of unlimited time - precious time - alter our view of the world.


Whether it's the former or the latter – my feelings about fly fishing have changed. Fly fishing has gotten too complex for me; too regimented, to joyless. No fun.


Then again, perhaps it is the 55,000 kids we have taken fishing as part of Mayor Daley’s Fish`N Kids program of the Chicago Park District over the past 5 years. Watching so many kids, aged 6 – 12 catch their first fish, has re-awakened my sense of wonder at catching a fish - any fish; a goby, bluegill, rock bass, smallmouth, perch, drum, salmon or trout. And, yes, after a day of taking kids fishing, I will relax by fishing for gobies. I can catch a million of 'em.


Have I lost my mind or found my soul?


Men take simple things and make them complicated. They take simple joys and pleasures and ratchet up the anty until the joy and pleasure within are almost unattainable.


“Adult pleasures and joys are seldom joyous or pleasurable to kids.” – me, Fishing Chicago 2005 brochure.


Fly fishing seems to have become enormously complicated with joy only attainable through strict and narrow structures and rules. In reality the way of the fly is nothing more than a stick, a line and a hook with some fuzzy stuff on it.


"This is the right rod, the right line, the right way to cast, the right fly, the right waders, the right vest, the right fish." I was there. I did that too. I know the passsion - although passions can degenerate into poisons.


If it isn’t caught on a dry fly that matches a hatch, then it is somehow the less. How about a small piece of nightcrawler on a #12 dry fly hook drifted on the surface when you have nothing that matches the hatch? Or even if you do, but simply want to catch fish! Yes? No? It was in the fly fishing tips section of a 1960 issue of Sports Afield. I was 10 when I read that. I never forgot it. It works too.


I was fly fishing back then, in 1959 and 1960 (baitcasting reels were too tough for me – I was the Master of the bird’s nests from Hell and spent so much time de-tangling said nests I could only manage two or three casts per 30 minutes. Never could bait-cast. But kids can pick up fly casting so easily; no books or videos needed).


Analogy (maybe a good one, maybe not). It is true that hunting deer with a mortar and grenade is neither sporting nor game (so some notion of “sport” and “game” are imperative), but hunting them with a Bowie knife is increasing the degree of difficulty to such absurd levels that to accomplish it is probably so satisfying that one might as well commit suicide after such success as you will never, NEVER, be able to do that again.


I love the fly rod: I do, I do, I do. I love to catch fish with it. It just the game that comes with the fly rod that’s tough to take: “don’t hate the playah, hate the game!”


Fly fishing should not be that strict and absurd: heck, we used to use spoons, spinners, tiny plugs, live bait even. But, it feels too strict and absurd sometimes; it reads like it, sometimes; it sounds like it, sometimes, in conversations overheard at the conventions and in the fly shops. Perhaps it is the adult’s convoluted sense of joy and pleasure gained by making things difficult and tough that I have lost; perhaps it is the child’s sense of fun and games where all things are possible that I have re-attained. I hope so.


Perhaps I’m just a fool, a mad-hatter or I should just change my name to Al Z. Heimer and beat the Baby-Boomer'headlong rush to mass senility.


A fly rod with a small piece of nightcrawler on a #12 dry fly hook sounds like fish to me; lot’s of fish; a couple of hefty-bags, but most, small. And lot's of fish, even little ones, sounds better on the fly rod than one fish on the right fly. Would I be boo’ed off the blue ribbon water by passers by with their $400 rods and $4.00 hand tied flies, tied and autographed by Master (fill in the name)?


I once was you’ know. Not quite boo’ed, but huffed at with disdain. I was on the Kankakee in all of my fly fishing splendor: waders, vest, hat, and expensive rod; a cover boy shot. And, I was pulling in the smallmouth left and right. There was a gent on the shore: hat, tweed jacket, corduroy pants, bass weeguns, and a pipe for god’s sake. He watched, nodded approvingly at each tightly looped, perfect cast, a gave me a puff o’ the pipe and a smile with each fish. He asked what I was using. I held up the chartreuse, 2” twister tail and jighead tied with a Palomar knot at the end of my $55 WF/F Easy Glide, High-Floatin' and high falutin' fly line. That last puff (glowing embers and all) was anything but approving, that last grunt anything but smiling. He turned and left without a word. I guess I ruined his day, week, month, life, millennium.


But, the perfect cast, the perfect lay down, the perfect drift, the perfect dry fly hatch- match, the perfect trout in the hand? So much perfection fly fishing. Well, that sounds like exaggerating inches to me. Perhaps I am old and simply need some Viagra to get my testosterone back. Maybe I just need a 2" chartreuse twister tail and a smallmouth at the end of my "00-weight."


"Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day." — Henri Nouwen


"Life is really simple, but men insist on making it complicated." - Confucious


"Simplicity is the final acheivement. After one has playes a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art." - Chopin

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Golf isn't complicated. Hit the ball, find it, hit it again.


Duff the ball. Do over. Duff another hole. Do over. Slam your club, or better yet throw it. Then claim at the end of the round how they won by so many strokes. :lol:


"Can we play through?" Or are they saying, get out of my way because you suck? :(


"What kind of clubs are those?", followed up with a wrinkled puss. :unsure:


I remember playing a 9 hole course in Downers back in the high school days. Barefoot playing water balls in the low areas after a summer rain. Laughing at the duffs. Playing with golf balls that already had smiles in them. Nobody pushing from behind. That used to be fun. I guess I ran into too many uptight golfers in my earlier days that ruined it for me. Have no interest whatsoever in the game these days.


It is a simple game that is complicated by men.


Its too bad, because its an acceptable way to get out of work! ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's exactly why I like Fly fishing, because of it's simplicity. I just grab my rod, pick out a fly, and go fishing.


I'm also a big fan of the late Tom Nixon's approach to fly fishing.


"Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication" - my father.


Men take simple things and make them complicated. They take simple joys and pleasures and ratchet up the anty until the joy and pleasure within are almost unattainable.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...