Monday, June 18, 2018

A Few Snapshots from this Past Week of Fishing

It is a bit strange, but mostly we have been catching fish on tiny stuff. Size 24-26 midges, black beauties and RS2's. But then with the bump in the flows, the old brown San Juan Worm has been working again. I guess we fish it all and hope for the best.


Friday, May 18, 2018

Advanced Fly Fishing Techniques for Living Life

I guess I might know a few advanced techniques for catching trout with a fly. But when it comes to living life at an advanced level, I struggle. I often have to go back to the basics and ask myself why I am here.  Why am I on the river? What is my goal and purpose?  Of course we all want to catch fish. That is a given. But I often miss the real reason.

I learn from my "beginner" clients. Most often they too want to catch fish but somehow for them,  they seem more mature than I,  and are content to just be on the river. I almost counter them, "Oh no, you can't just be happy being here,  you have to catch fish." As I said, I am not very advanced. My clients often are more advanced than I. I am just a beginner.

It is ironic that often when I leave my clients alone, that is when they will catch a fish. Yesterday I was guiding a wonderful couple. Mark had caught 7 fish but Diane had not put a fish in the net yet. I went to get some thing from my truck, and of course I look back and Diane is fighting a fish, and Mark nets the fish for her. Great guiding on my part hey??? !!!

Or last week there was Kat, Joleen and Matt. Joleen hooked five fish in the first 15 minutes and I was no where near her. Kat hooked several. Matt lost a few. We netted fish and lost fish. Everyone caught fish, but I am not sure how much the hooking really mattered. Nor am I sure how much I was needed!!! Sometimes I feel I am more just "in the way" of something greater that is trying to happen.  

I don't know. I guess we can all try too hard  sometimes and miss the point. We can miss the greater lesson in life, why we are here,  and even the opportunity to net the fish.

I remain ignorant. I offer no advice. I am still a beginner. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Big Fish-Small Pond

The saying "A big fish in a small pond" means  that I might think I am a big deal out in the world but my influence is actually quite small.  In other words, in spite of what I might think about myself, the reality is that I may only impact the small fish in my own small pond.   

I think deep down most of us want to feel that we are important to people,  or at least a certain group of people. We want to know we matter.  We want to know we are relevant. It is quite painful to admit that perhaps we only matter to a few loved ones, if even that.

The culture does not help. It is tough to be as popular as the culture demands. We constantly see people in the spot light and often not for honorable reasons. Or, some so called "stars" are just good at promoting themselves and elevating themselves to stardom.

Charles Bukowski in his poem titled, "The Secret" says that "nobody has the strange and hidden power, nobody is exceptional or wonderful or magic, they only seem to be."  He goes on to imply that it is all a show and an illusion.

Perhaps I am uncomfortable that I have not rocked my world. I often feel irrelevant and that I have not even rocked the small world  
of my small pond.

Only once in a while, a big fish enters the small world of my life, and provides a special kind of solitary solace. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

With Whom Do We Fish?

With whom do I fish and why?

Sometimes I ask myself this question and try to answer?  I think when I fish, I am often seeking connection to more than the fish I cast upon. Among other things, I seek connection with a fellow angler.

Of course sometimes it nothing more than wanting to share the river, its fish, and the whole experience with another soul.  To share a beautiful place with another person allows me to not feel so isolated. Therefore, I seek someone to whom I can fish and enjoy an outing together.

It can also just be fun to tease someone for not being able to catch a fish. Or sometimes it is I who cannot hook up, like an awkward teenager casting to the girls at school and there is nothing but rejection.  Together, with others,  it is easier to laugh at being rejected. And as many of us know who fish the South Platte, rejection comes often. So we learn to laugh at one another and ourselves.

Yet, sometimes it is “Something” more.  For me, it can be about sharing with another the struggle of life. What struggle someone might ask? What are you talking about?

Well, that is a difficult question to answer. I think many of us, “just know” what I am talking about whether we admit it or not.  However, I don’t believe I am talking about the glorious, joyful, blessed life of being a Christian and fishing in God’s creation as some profess. No, this is Something deeper and darker like the deep pool we fish but never see the bottom and we can never seem to entice the large, melancholy fish laying on the bottom.

My friends and many people I meet on the river are surprised to hear me speak of melancholy and a struggle in life. “Struggle” they say; “Do you know you have it made? Do you know how lucky you are?  Do you know you are living the dream?”  

“Yes” I reply.   “I know, but I still struggle.”

We make another thousand casts.

And sometimes, with a peculiar joy in our hearts, we connect, and the melancholy fish rises to meet us.

It is with such people who know Something of both melancholy and joy who I enjoy fishing with the most and connect at the deepest level of struggle, even trying to catch the large rainbow on the bottom of a deep pool and trying to believe. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Big Amy's Ant Rainbow

I caught a big rainbow on an Amy’s Ant dry fly.

My wife’s name is Amy and I am Anthony, but people back in Jersey would call me “Ant” so when we put those two names together we get an “Amy’s Ant.”  

Sometimes ‘Amy’s Ant’, that is Anthony, (using the Amy’s Ant) catches a big fish. 

When  I report to my wife that I caught a big fish on an “Amy’s Ant” she tries to take some credit for the fish.  She thinks it is her fly by name (which it is not) or that I am her Ant, which I guess, is somewhat true.

But what a catch (I mean Amy!), even if she knows nothing about fly fishing. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Fine Morning Fly Fishing at Deckers

I guided at Deckers yesterday with good friend and fellow guide Steve Gossage.  The clients were easy going and respectful individuals. They caught fish and Steve and I were please with how the morning unfolded. We even felt like respectable guides; we did our job. I complimented Steve, and he complimented me.

Yet, like any number of other guide trips there was something else beneath the waters we fished that forever lurks.  If I told you only about each beautiful fish we caught, the flies and techniques we used, we might just pass over this something else.  I usually refer to this “Something else” as a “God-thing” or a presence of sorts that we might perceive in nature. I guess you can call it whatever you want but I think it is important that we pay attention to it.

Lately, for me, I relate this awareness of Something else to the struggle of life. This is the struggle to maintain faith; to believe in Something bigger than oneself.  It is not about success. It is not about numbers or size of fish. There will never be enough fish or a fish big enough.  Knowing this truth is part of our faith journey and keeps us in the struggle of faith rather than above it. The fish we hooked struggled to remain low in their watery world, as we skillfully struggled, to bring the fish into our world. This is rather strange and symbolic of some bigger struggle and ultimate desire.  

Yesterday the crowds arrived on the river. This too is part of the struggle. There are many good anglers and guides on the river these days. It is easy to compare ourselves with one another, and on certain days to even try to place myself on “top”, but such comparisons are useless.

I am trying rather to remain low below the surface, in the struggle of life. I would rather remain in the Something else, even if that places me on the bottom, where the fish repeatedly engulfed our nymphs.