There are many reasons to pick up the fly rod, too many to list but nonetheless there are some that come to the forefront.
One reason is the fly rod introduced me to some of the best people anyone would ever want to meet. Many of my closest friendships were introduced by it too. It has taken me to places that otherwise I would have had no reason to gone.
I’ve had the thrill of fighting strong fish with the slightest of mechanical advantage. I’ve also had the pleasure of playing the diminutive jewels that are sprinkled in the smallest of pure mountain streams; life that would never have been revealed to me otherwise.
The fly rod has taught me lessons in physics and biology that somehow slipped by me in school. It’s given me a sense of timing that music classes couldn’t. The fly rod has also given me time.
The hurried pace and urgency that increase the stress of everyday life is brought to a halt with the fly rod. Like a magician’s wand, you wave it and time becomes still.
The fly rod is in my hand daily, even when I’m not fishing it the figurative staff that points me in the right direction. It drives me to read an essay penned by an author whose desk is a river bank, whose thoughts flow from the page like the water in the river that inspired him.
The rod is there when I wind feathers to a hook until the color and texture of the material breath life into the curved metal. The fly rod has taught me about insects and aquatic life, about moon phases and tides and what’s natural and not.
I’ve had many fly rods in my life and still do. They’ve come and gone with just a couple still hanging around for no specific reason. For every rod I’ve given or sold to another fisherman two others have taken its place. So it is with rods.
I’m not sentimental about my fly rods, though I wish I still had my very first; a Garcia. Of all the rods I’ve had through the years my favorite was always the one I was fishing with. When a rod is of reputable manufacture and made by hands that understand what it’s for it has a liveliness. Rods made by machines or people who don’t even know what it is they’re making have to interest to me.
Fly rods aren’t about catching fish, they’re about casting. Casting is what’s about catching fish. The balance a fly rod creates in your life with the tempo, feel and the gravity defying rolling of the line is artistic by view but a craft by performance. It’s a journey anyone can embark on, a place anyone can visit. The fly rod will turn the ordinary stream, creek, lake or pond into a place of wonder and discovery.
A fly rod will catch fish. And it will do it with reverence whether that fish has a bill for a nose and fire in its eyes or is a fish identified by its vermiculations and adipose fin.
The reasons to pick up a rod are many but few are actually needed. We take it fishing and it takes us somewhere else. Maybe to another place we wouldn’t have gone on our own.