by Mark Littlton
Life is funny. A guy I once worked with often said "you couldnít
make this stuff up". He was right, some of the things that
happen are way too warped to be conjured up by the most creative
imagination. I once saw an episode of a reality show where the contestants
hadnít seen any news in two months. The producers presented
them with recent news stories Ė half true and half made up-
and had them guess which really happened. They got almost all of
them wrong. A year ago if I told you the Terminator, Gary Coleman
and a stripper would be running for the governor of California,
would you have believed it?
You might think it would be great if things moved along in an orderly
and predictable manner, but, with the exception of the stock market,
I donít think so. Most of the fun in life ( and in fishing)
comes out of the unknown and unpredictable. What will happen tomorrow?
- what a wonderful mystery.
Anybody who thinks this fly fishing thing is all about catching
fish just doesnít get it. If that is what it is about for
you, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by going out
to the trout farm. Donít get me wrong, catching is an important
part of fishing, it just isnít everything Ė or even
the most important thing. We all have fantasies of the big day where
you catch big fish on every cast until your arm hurts, but how much
fun would it be if it were like that every time. No mystery, no
challenge, no need to learn anything, just the certainty of another
boring day of hauling in fish after fish. I think a little of this
would go a long way. I know it wouldnít hold my interest for
long. This is why there arenít long lines at the trout farm.
It is frustrating sometimes when the hatches donít come off
as planned. All of the fly shops and guide services have hatch charts
that tell when the hatches should come off. If youíve been
fishing long enough on the same river, you already know not only
the time of year, but also the time of day that the major hatches
will come off. They should but sometimes donít. Even the most
consistent hatches donít always come off when they should.
Sometimes a hatch, even a major hatch like the Blue Winged Olives,
is a no show for the whole season. On the other hand sometimes serendipity
smiles on you and you run into a hatch that is totally unexpected
and everything you would have hoped for if you could have imagined
it. Why does this happen? Iíve puzzled on this quite a bit
and have some half baked theories but I donít know, and I
donít think anybody else does either.
Some fishing holes on the river are just as inconsistent. I know
some places that are great one year, and then seem to have no fish
in them the next. You know that the reason the fish were there was
because that part of the river provided great habitat for them,
and nothing appears to have changed from year to year, but something
did change because the fish are gone.
I think the inconsistency, the mystery and the challenge are the
things that make fishing interesting and fun. I donít think
Iím in any danger of ever knowing it all, although I have
met a few fishermen that think they do. If you are one of these
guys, please donít share it with me. It would spoil it for
me and Iím getting too old to take up a new hobby.