Wednesday 4th February, 2009
I got an email today from a buddy of mine. A steelhead report from this past weekend. Among other things, he said, "I had a positive grab and a confirmed visual of the fish on the surface. So I was officially zero-for-one."
I shot him off a quick and cutting reply, like any good fishing buddy would do.
"So, what you mean is you got too excited didn't wait out the fish, and farmed to hookset. Most guys I fish with would have had that fish on the beach. Nice work."
The thing is, when I got to thinking about it later, I realized I was only half kidding. We've all been there, done that. We've all blown a chance at something good, or great, or really great. Botched a big job interview, farmed a shot at a sweet fish, forgotten to write the FP, etc.
Nobody wants it to happen, but it happens.
We all want to be the guy who is always calm enough to truly enjoy the process of fishing, hunting, whatever, and all the long pauses between the action. We want to be the guy who is relaxed enough to be conscious of exactly what is happening even when it's all happening. And we also want to be the guy who is hyper-focused and aware enough at all times to never be caught off guard when that big chance presents itself.
The guy who notices and can name all the birds hopping around in the willows but is still ready to drop line, get that perfect hookup after 3 days without a grab, and land the biggest steelhead of the trip, along with bragging rights until next October.
The guy who spends a whole day on the bow smiling and whistling Bob Marley and then surprises the guide when he hits a tight 80 footer to drop his crab fly right on a 30 pound permit (the first anyone's seen all day) as the sun is starting to set.
So, how do you become "that guy"? I'm not sure, and if I knew I probably wouldn’t tell anyone. I'm guessing you can only get there by screwing up a lot of chances along the way, learning from those mistakes and from the people and environment around you, staying positive, doing your best not to let scary things scare you and intimidating things intimidate you, and staying humble when you finally do land that big fish.
Until next week.
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