Just Stop. And, Look Around. And, Breathe….

“Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” (Louis L’Amour)

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Very few endeavors in my personal life, be it other sports, other hobbies, or my profession, will have my mind seemingly constantly racing as when I am fly fishing.

And, in some sort of backwards way, the more I enjoy and the more I learn, the faster-paced my mind gets.

It’s one thing to spend my days talking and texting with friends and teammates about leader formulas, water temps, gear, and fly selection, but quite another to hit the water with the same clouded mind of thoughts.

If you’re anything like me, there’s never been enough time spent knee-deep in cold, clean-flowing streams. Between work demands and family time, most of our hours spent fishing never feel like they’re enough.

We spend hours scouting new water, pouring over maps and Google satellite images and watching the weather and flows. All of which is (at least for me), some of the best times about our little pastime.

There’s nothing wrong with any of the above-stated aspects of a life and heart enveloped by fly fishing, except when you don’t shut it off.

We’ve all been there. Casting. Drifting. Mending. Looking upstream for the rise you don’t want to miss. Leaning back and peering up around that bend. “What’s upstream? A new run? A deep pool with an alpha male cruising at the tail-out?”

And, what happens next? SLAM. The line goes tight. The dry disappears. And, you know what’s coming.

You miss…. We weren’t there. We weren’t dialed-in.

My mind was wandering, listening to the roll of the riffles upstream. My mind was thinking about being out in nature and thankful that I was where I was, and I miss?

I’m okay with that. Always will be.

But, missing a fish because I wasn’t appreciating where I was, or because I was looking upstream for “what may be”? That’s not okay.

It’s something I’ve tasked myself on working on changing. And, not because it’s truly one of the things that separates the cream of the crop in competition angling. (Because it is. Some of the best can seemingly and almost inexplicably be “dialed-in” to every drift and every cast for an entire session).

It’s not that.

It’s because my time, your time, away from work and family, is important. And, it shouldn’t be overlooked. I very recently lost my uncle, my trout fishing mentor.

A patch in memory of Uncle Ron (designed by Nick Meloy)

With PA’s opening day rapidly approaching, I find myself looking back. And, remembering. And, smiling. I won’t get those moments back, and won’t be creating new ones.

But, I know I won’t let drifts pass without a smile. And, without being present. It’s what Uncle Ron would have wanted. It’s what your time on the water deserves. It’s what you deserve.

“Live in the present with all your power.”

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3 thoughts on “Just Stop. And, Look Around. And, Breathe….

  1. Ray, this is an incredible post. My condolences to you and your family. Uncle Ron sounds like an amazing person. I’m sure he is proud of the angler and the person you’ve become….

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