Spending time on the water (experience) manifests itself in knowledge and skills gained. That knowledge and skill, when applied correctly, often results in the achievement of the most basic objective in fly fishing – catching a fish; or a bunch of fish; or a big fish. But that most basic objective is certainly not the only reason that people are drawn to fly fishing. And, in the end, no matter how skillful and knowledgeable you become as an angler, there will always be those days when the fish just seem to disappear, leaving you standing by the water with a slack line.
I used to dread those bleak, fishless days in my younger years. They felt like some sort of failure back then. I don’t mind them any longer. Now, on the days when the fish just won’t show themselves, I just string up the subconscious 6-weight and have a go at fishing for something else.
Turns out, they are a lot easier to catch than fish.
If you fish enough [How much is enough?], over time you will likely amass more than a few wonderful memories to conjure up while you aren’t catching fish. For me, the great thing about being out on the water is that simple attendance makes it super easy to recall (catch) all those memories.
It turns out that there is a well-known technique for remembering unstructured information (like fishing stories) called the Roman Room. To use the method, one associates the individual pieces of information they wish to remember with the items in a room of an imaginary or not-so-imaginary house.
I didn’t even know this method existed until somewhat recently. Perhaps, over the years, I’ve unintentionally created a Roman Room out of every fishing spot I’ve ever been to, and associated memories with each rock, seam, run, and tree on the river bank? Every detail of the memories seems to just spring forth out of the water like a hungry cutthroat rising for a fat grasshopper – expected, but also unexpected. And those memories can make an otherwise slow day fly by, or a lonely day into a full and happy one.
I won’t bore you with examples of my own memories. They likely won’t mean a thing to you. But I’m sure you have your own to recall the next time you are out there not catching any fish, or maybe…
Take Care & Fish On,