This past Saturday, Jack and I once again had the privilege of spending the day chasing Redfish on the Upper Laguna Madre on the deck of Capt. Freddy Lynch’s skiff . Even though Hurricane Delta was pummeling the Louisiana coastline a mere 400 miles away, we fished under bluebird skies and 5-10mph winds all day. Unfortunately, we did have to contend with an extra eighteen inches of water that had been pushed by the storm surge, but such is the game of fishing. You take what nature gives you, and do your best despite the less than perfect conditions.
Jack ended up laying the hammer down on three solid fish with several other close calls that under normal water conditions would have also rung the dinner bell. Throughout the day, we stuck with only one pattern…a crème colored, non-descript shrimp imitation tied bend back style on the Tiemco 600SP hook platform. Much of the time we are trying to imitate the large white shrimp that Redfish and Speckled Trout are so addicted to, and this un-named pattern is one I came up with during one of my “stream of consciousness” improvisational tying sessions earlier in the year.
As I’ve referenced before, these days I rarely if ever follow a dedicated detailed pattern recipe. Most times I do have a vague idea of what I am trying to achieve, but that usually only involves such attributes as color size and silhouette. Rather than think too much about it, I find it much more interesting to put a hook in the jaws and just start grabbing materials that I know will get me close, and see what comes out. This type of “stream of consciousness” tying is most assuredly a relic of my days as a musician.
For several semesters I studied classical guitar, and as much as I respect the rigid discipline of that genre, the lack of improvisational freedom and creativity was downright EXCRUCIATING. I found myself to be much more enthralled with the blurred lines and unencumbered experimentation offered by other musical styles. Years ago I remember reading a quote by a famous musician whose name escapes me now. When asked about his unique improvisational style, and ability to always land in the right place, he replied (and I’m paraphrasing from memory here)” When you begin to play outside the parameters of normal scale structures, and you find yourself lost, just remember you’re only a half a step away from being right back in the proper key. I have found that to be not only a valuable way of conceptualizing musical improvisation but also for conceptualizing life in general.
On the three hour drive home I had ample time to dissect this concept of stream of consciousness, improvisational philosophy, and how whether I consciously realize it or not, has been at the forefront of the way I have lived my entire life. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know this; whether we're talking about fly tying, guitar playing, or life in general, all three are a helluva lot more interesting when you’re exploring you’re own creative truth rather than copying someone else’s.
And, if the late Edward Van Halen had pursued fly fishing, I am sure he’d feel the same way I do. I’d much rather bomb with a fly pattern of my own design than be successful with someone else’s.
Hope you’re all having a great week,