“When it comes to legally catching fish, greed is good.”
Balance can be defined as a condition in which different elements are in the correct proportions. I believe this applies to the fisher as well. And no, I am not talking about how to fish with balanced leeches. This is about approach and wholeness. Balancing the love of the outdoors and the “Experience” with the passion to simply catch fish. I believe the best fishers out there find this balance. It is my goal.
Fly fishing is not for the faint of heart. It can be difficult to regularly figure out how to coax fish into biting something artificial, made of feathers and thread, instead of the real sinews of living prey. So many choices from rods to lines, to leaders, to flies, depth, speed, drift……. the list goes on and on. Where to fish and what time of year to fish. Lakes, streams, rivers, creeks, tailwaters all provide different challenges and experiences. But these can be figured out and worked through over time and with a consistent desire to learn and try new things everything is possible. A great fishing guide once said to me, “When it comes to legally catching fish, greed is good.” He went on to explain that he means a serious fisher needs a great desire to catch fish in order to consistently catch fish. You must really want it. One fish is not enough. The desire to catch more fish drives the best fishers to work harder, spend more time and money, innovate and try new things. It provides the impetus to breaking through the barriers of mediocrity and propels one towards excellence in the art of fly fishing.
But this greed should be balanced with a love of just being outdoors and experiencing nature. It shouldn’t just be about catching more and bigger fish. I think this is the part I struggle with more. I can be in the middle of the most beautiful Montana scenery and be so focused on catching fish that, for hours, I forget to look up and enjoy the beauty. It is a lot easier for me to relax, take in my surroundings, and enjoy the feelings of Carpe diem after I catch a few fish. Please don’t get me wrong. I do love being outdoors and I do love seeing a good dose of beauty anytime, whether I am catching fish or not. At the end of a no-fish catching day, I do still feel enjoyment from just getting out. I just need to stop and smell the roses more often. I know I will be back at it again as soon as I can, determined more than ever to catch them next time.
So, I say thanks to this guide for saying it so well. Giving me a framework to explain the balance of fly fishing for the pure joy of the experience and the incredible desire to catch more and bigger fish. My hope is to always strike a balance in fishing and in life. It is how our bodies function best physiologically by maintaining homeostasis in our blood. It is how our minds function best in a balance of brain chemistry. It is how we function best, balancing our physical and spiritual realities. For balance is the way of better human existence.