Even When the Fish Don’t Bite…


Sometimes, you just have to get out and fish. Sometimes, that means you drive 3 hours to try and end up leaving 3 days later without a tug to write home about. But, it’s that effort and those trials and tribulations that make it worth it.

For someone who lives, eats and breathes fly-fishing for steelhead, those trials usually mean a lot of days on the river gaining nothing more than sore shoulders from thousands of casts on what seems like an empty river full of boulders and fallen trees planted there to do nothing more than to grab your fly before a hungry mouth has a chance. 

Thankfully, I had Doc with me this last time. Four legs full of fury to chase after his curious scent, as well as occasionally sit anxiously on the river bank behind me, as I tried whole-heartedly to find that tug at the end of my line…
Sinking, reeling back, casting out, and swinging through the depths of the intrepid water waiting for that tug… waiting… waiting… hoping… Only to eventually be forced to give in to my growling stomach and thirsty mouth and take a break. I lay down– giving my weary legs and arms a break from wading and walking the rocky and muddy banks. Searching for new water, scanning familiar water and relentlessly doing it all over again day after day… Alone. That moment of feeling hopeless eventually tries to take over. A swift blanket of the fear trying to cover you as you still somehow have a dwindling ounce of hope left… Yet, somehow that hope returns again, throwing the blanket swiftly off before it had a chance to settle, after endulging in a hearty meal in the small town that joins the surrounding rivers, with some familiar faces and some new ones– sharing stories of similar defeat on the river, but some with more success shared, which is enough to remind you that it is worth trying again the next morning. Somehow, the optimism stays even when it should dwindle and decease. Or should it?

I never regret trying. I only grow from each experience and each attempt. By doing it by myself, I feel like I grew a little more this last time. It doesn’t always take a grab or –even better– the fight of a steelhead to make me feel the drive to keep pursuing these fish. It just takes persistence.

Take me back to that place and those unpredictable rivers any day. I’m going to give it my all, whether it’s alone or with others who feel the same passion and understand the same unbridled addiction to swinging flies for these mysterious, anadromous creatures… I just can’t wait for the next time I have a chance to get back out and do it all over again. This is why I know I have found myself. And there is only more to discover yet.

Until next time…
Thanks for reading~

Categories: Rambling, Steelhead, Thoughts

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