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Ronan's report

Friday, 15 February, 2013

It is probably around Nov-Dec 1996. I sat on the beach with my two friends at Cape Vidal; very satisfied with myself after my contribution to landing over a hundred Shad (Blue fish/Tailor) between us in probably two hours of fishing. Boy were we damn good or what??

I sat on the beach and watched another fly fisherman. He had the sloppiest of casting styles. In fact, he probably defined the phrase “beating the water into a froth”. He was hopeless. He barely got the fly out seven metres. His loops would have circled the globe. His double handed casting on what looked like a 8.5 foot river rod, did not give him the line speed and momentum he was hoping for. His casting action had no pause and his tip probably touched the water in front and behind him. I am also probably being very generous when I say he “stripped” the fly. What a waste of time and an embarrassment to us fly fishers I thought – just so full of myself.

Perhaps fifteen minutes passed and by this time the poor guy should have buried himself if he had heard the taunts running through my head. Then it happened – he hooked and landed a shad. Ok I though, he got lucky. He should still not call himself a fly fisherman.

Another five or so minutes passed and he hooked and landed another shad. This fish like the first, was unhooked with the utmost care; looked through the entire length from tip to tail (all 30cm of it), and then most graciously dispatched it back into the water with a massive beaming smile on his face.

The non-fly fisher show continued, with the same success every few minutes. With every fish, his sense of accomplishment and the smile on his face grew. I was probably sitting about fifty metres away, but it there was no doubt that this guy was having fun and loving every moment of it.

Reality dawned on me and my most un-noble of actions – who was I to judge this guy! He was having so much fun, despite the taunts that would have reached him if he were telepathic. It did not matter how he got his fly out there. The important thing to him was that he did and was still getting his fly into the right spot. Because I had a more effective means of catching fish, did not make me any better than him. We had both derived fun from what we were doing. Clearly, he way more than me on this occasion.

I have no idea who that guy was, but some seventeen odd years ago I realised that it is cruel to judge others (fly-fishing-wise this time). We all have our own ways of enjoying what we do. There is no right way – just better ways sometimes

Tight lines and screaming reels.

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