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Ronan's report


Wednesday 28th April, 2010

Prologue:

it's all happening,
and need not make much sense on
sexyloops dot com

Please believe me that I had no idea that Davyís FP from yesterday had the same title.

---------------------------------

Special events and occasions are often coupled with unrealistically high expectations and are therefore prime time for disappointment. Valentineís Day, my birthday, the annual Salmonfly hatch. Iíve allowed all of them to serve me up a huge dose of disappointment just because I foolishly thought that the experience would be completely extraordinary after someone said that it was supposed to be really special. You might want to put on your sarcasm filter now, but I donít think Iím the only one whoís found him/herself disappointed after another standard issue good-to-great time that happened to coincide with one of these expectation increasing special occasions.

But can you blame yourself?

I think sometimes the entire fishing travel industry is built on the fine line between offering something really special and selling unrealistic expectations. Lodges post photos of the biggest fish caught every season, reports of huge numbers, and promises of fishing like it was 100 years ago. We are easily sold on the vision of ourselves boating a flats slam with an extra permit thrown in for good measure. But what happens when the traveler doesnít hit it just right, or isnít prepared with the experience or casting skills to make that advertising into their own personal reality?

Disappointment, thatís what.

When I was a guide in Yellowstone it made me truly sad to see experienced anglers walk away disappointed from a week long trip where they caught plenty of nice wild trout and experienced some of the most unique rivers, landscapes, ecosystems, and fly fishing opportunities in the world just because they didnít land a 20 inch brown on the Madison or put up a 50 fish day on dries on the Firehole like those guys in the brochure. It made me sad because they missed out on what makes a Yellowstone trip truly amazing, and didnít come away from their time with the same sense of wonder that I hope that everyone who visits Yellowstone comes away with whether they fished or not.

We rarely go into a trip knowing all the factors, or with all the skills to make the most of every chance. And there are always things that you canít control, like the weather, that may put the fishing off and make every single catch an accomplishment. There just arenít that many (or any) places where the fishing is as good as it gets all, or even most of the time.

So youíre probably wondering whatís the point of this? Am I going to come up with something great for you after subjecting you to an uncharacteristically negative rant? What were your expectations before you read this Wednesdays Frontpage?

Iím not that mean. Did you really think that Iíd leave you hanging like that?

I think that there is always something great to be had from a day, especially if that day is spent on the water. But I donít know if this was always my opinion, and Iím not completely sure how to always take away that great experience.

What Iíve been thinking about is how itís really a shame that we often find ourselves disappointed by good or even great experiences just because we came to a day, a trip, or a river with unrealistic expectations. What I donít really know is how to avoid it. Is it best to go into your next birthday, holiday, or fishing trip with absolutely no expectations whatsoever? Iím not sure. Regardless, having no expectations is virtually impossible to pull off. Some people might argue that itís best to go into it with a pessimistic attitude that everything will turn out crap. That way you maximize your chances of being pleasantly surprised. But I donít think thatís a good attitude either, because if you think that things will turn out poorly, your subconscious wonít be fully engaged, you wonít be as aware of your surroundings, and you wonít fish, ski, or even BE with confidence. When a great opportunity presents itself, you might be too bummed out to take advantage of it and really turn the day into one of those legendary experiences.

The farther I get into this, the more I realize that Iím not going to come up with an answer in time for midnight here on Pacific Time. I already missed Wednesday morning GMT for crying out loud.

Maybe the answer has something to do with what I talked about a couple of weeks ago - about being ready to make the most of the terrain that you come into. Maybe the only thing that you should really expect is to encounter something you werenít really going to be able to anticipate, and to try to be ready mentally and physically, with the right gear and the best skills that youíve been able to grow. Maybe itís just all about being confident in yourself that you can make something good of any day, even if extraordinary things donít happen.

Have a great week everyone.

Take Care and Fish On,
Matt


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