I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Heeeere fishy fishy fishy

As fishermen go, I am distinctly in the amateur class. Despite now having an even dozen fishing rods, much of the minutia and technique is lost on me. I haven't ever really had a teacher or mentor for such things, and while I can cast and work lines and lures adequately, I am still in the range of flailing around like an idiot compared to people who actually know what they're doing.

Up until very recently, I was pretty much solely interested in bass fishing, with a bit of panfish thrown in for good measure. I, like many, had thought fly fishing too difficult and expensive, trolling for pike and walleye seemed dull and not a good test of skill, and being an Illinoisian, ocean fishing is a bit difficult.

I recently took out a subscription to Field & Stream magazine though, and while it informed me just how much I'd have to learn, it did make me rather more interested in fly fishing. While yes, high end fly equipment is mind-bendingly, jaw-droppingly expensive, low end, functional, entry level gear is quite affordable, and the sport is simply fascinating. It is quite different than bass fishing, seeming to be more about understanding the fish than being obnoxious and annoying enough to prompt a bite.

As the astute reader will have guessed, I bought myself a basic fly kit. After a few false starts based on bewilderingly incomprehensible instructions that came with the kit, my uncle (for lack of trying to remember exactly how he's related to me. Lots of family up that way...) took me out and showed me the proper form. I have a lot of bass-fishing habits to overcome it seems. After a few hours of flinging a piece of yarn around, my great uncle took me to his trout club for some hands on experience, where I promptly did essentially zero casting.  I was using a wet fly, which are typically fished downstream under the surface. Considering the very narrow nature of the stream, my technique was simple. Drop the fly in the water, play out line, and twitch merrily along the way.

Apparently, it worked. I came home with 5 beautiful rainbow trout. They were tasty.

This is probably a sign that I have yet another expensive hobby.


I am an addict.

Another thing about this whole experience that I found interesting was that this was the first time I have ever killed my dinner. In Florida, the captain killed and cleaned the catch, and in all previous meat-eating experiences, someone else did the dirty work.  Fishing with my great uncle, he showed me how to dispatch one fish, and I did the others. He cleaned one of them, and I did the rest. It was a weird feeling. On the one hand, I am quite fond of fish in their alive state. I have more fish tanks than perhaps is reasonable, and am getting more (see expensive hobbies.) Up to this point, I have been a strict catch-and-release fisherman.

There is an undeniable honesty to catching and killing it yourself. It is easy to walk into a grocery store and pick up a piece of shrink-wrapped flesh. It's clean, sterile, and easy.  Catching your own dinner is not. Cleaning a fish is messy. Catching them in the first place is a challenge. Fishing for dinner forces you to face the reality that in order for a human to eat, something else must die. After this, I think I'm both more aware of and more comfortable with this fact. And besides. Fresh caught trout is delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment, but please be respectful. I reserve the right to delete any comment at any time for any reason, but I don't anticipate having to do that. Let's try to have real discussions?