The Essence of Saltwater Fly Fishing
We all have a favorite fish, our best fishing story or our most memorable moment on the water, whether it be your biggest catch or a personal best day on the water. You come back and get to tell all your buddies about this and that and swap fishing stories and share laughs and tips and tricks. There’s a close knit community of anglers who are all bound together by their love and affinity for being on the water, a brotherhood if you’d like to say. Us fly fisherman, or fly fisher-ladies have a unique bond. We can spot each other a mile away from certain stickers on a car or spy someone with a certain hat on from across the room; and undoubtedly we will end up in conversation about something to do with our love of fly fishing.
There’s a certain appreciation for anglers who choose to fly fish over conventional rod and reel techniques. It’s not about catching the most or bringing home the biggest, it’s about focusing on where we are and what we don’t have to be doing at that moment in time. We can leave the office at home and drown ourselves in our surroundings, wading a mountain stream for native trout or poling through the marsh searching for tailing redfish, completely immersed in the outside world.
I won’t go down the “purist” route for fly fishing, rather I would choose to go down the “give it a try” route. Take a moment to pause, watch the fish, read the water, listen to what’s around you and truly soak it all in. Fly fishing to me is about a release, letting go of the day to day and hitting the pause button on life to relax and admire what has been created for us to enjoy. Listening to oysters pop, and explosion of bait on the grass line behind me, the warblers and terns throughout the marsh; it’s all part of the experience, the true essence of fly fishing.
There have been plenty of days to where I come back to swap stories and hear about the epic days my friends where having, then the conversation to towards me. I don’t want to just tell how many fish I did or didn’t catch, I want to talk about the experience, the story about the day and what I saw. How a certain fish followed my fly then peeled away 3 feet from the boat while he looked me in the eye and said “nope”. The challenge and reward of casting (which is an entire book series to write about) to a specific fish, getting the fish to follow a curved piece of metal with some animal hair and some flash tied in, to eat that fly and properly set the hook to eventually holding that fish in my hands and getting to say thank you while it’s held in the water and let go to live another day. That, to me, is what it’s all about.