Letting Go

Letting Go

Andy Dear | Thursday, 21 January 2021

The thing is, art is never finished, it’s abandoned and you have to know the right place to abandon it in order to continue doing it.
--- Mark Slaughter

   One of the recurring themes I find weaving its way through my writing as well as my angling is the connection between art and fishing. Like most activities that are in some way associated with an artistic bent, there are a myriad of ways one can interpret the artistic flair of a given activity, and that includes the act of catching a fish.

  Recently I was reading an interview with famed hard rock vocalist and guitarist Mark Slaughter. Those of you who came of age in the mid to late 1980s, and were fans of the hard rock genre will remember Mark for his work with his band Slaughter, who had several chart-topping songs in the latter part of that decade. In the aforementioned interview, Mark also reflected on his early work with ex-KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent, who is widely acknowledged as one of the premier technical, yet eccentric guitar shredders of the 1980s hard rock genre. Mark observed that despite Vinnie's overwhelming talent as a guitar player and a songwriter, the one trait that often held him back was his inability to know when it was time to abandon a piece of art and start on another. Stories of recording and re-recording drum tracks, vocal tracks, literally spending hundreds and hundreds of hours to gain no appreciable improvement in the quality of performance are legendary with Vinnie who was the consummate obsessive perfectionist.

  As I tend to do, I found myself looking for and linking parallels between the overly obsessive quality of performance in a music studio, and the overly obsessive quality of performance in an angling scenario. Rarely if ever does mother nature provide us with a perfect setup for the proper cast, or presentation to interact with our prey. Yet I can tell you from a personal standpoint that my tendency is to try and manipulate the scenario in such a way where until all of the variables are lined up as close to perfect as possible, only then I will ultimately engage in the act of fishing....but the truth is this is a very unrealistic, and more often than not a very unproductive way to fish.

  As my views on the nature of angling and art evolve, I tend to look at each fishing trip, each fish, even each cast as a small piece of art within a bigger piece of art that at some point must all be abandoned and allowed to dissolve into the ether, so that a new piece of art may be started. Many are the times that Capt. Freddy Lynch has had to subtly remind me after several failed presentations to a Redfish, to "let that one go, it's over" Whether he and I realize it consciously or not, we are both "forced" to start a new piece of angling art the very second the old piece is abandoned. And, from Mark's astute observation regarding the importance of knowing when a piece of art is "done", the abandonment is the often difficult but absolutely necessary action that allows the next piece of angling art to be created by and for the angler.

Hope you're all staying safe and healthy,