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Fly Fishing and Frustration

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From my article this week:

Fly fishing is filled with times of frustration: getting rained out on the stream, losing a fly in a low hanging branch, being unable to thread your thin tippet line through the hole of a tiny little hook because your hands are too cold. One time I drove an hour from home to fish a new river. When I opened the trunk to put on my gear, I discovered that I had left my fly fishing rod at home. I had my vest and my net, but no rod. I sat by the car and called myself an idiot repeatedly.

Perhaps the ultimate frustration of fly fishing is not catching any fish. Sometimes no matter how advanced your casting skills, or how perfectly tied your flies, the fish simply will not rise. Trout are picky. And the task we set before ourselves is difficult: to attract a fish to bite a hook wrapped in thread and wool.

When I am on the river, and nothing is happening, no matter what fly I use or where I cast, I get frustrated. I try to rationalize the situation. I say to myself: “I’ll just use this time to practice my casting.” That usually does not work for long. The sport is called fly fishing, not fly casting.

Over the years, I realized that frustration from not catching fish usually has to do with expectations. As my skills developed and my casting improved and I could catch many more fish in an afternoon, my expectations began to rise. Today, a few hours on the stream that do not yield a single bite might cause some serious frustration.

But expectations on the fly fishing stream are probably a waste of time. Not too long ago, someone asked me for the most important tip in fly fishing. I said to him: “Be sure to look up from the river every once in a while, take a breath of air, hear the soft sound of the flowing water, and appreciate the beauty of all that surrounds you.” In fly fishing, when I expect to catch trout, I am guaranteed to be frustrated sometimes. When I expect to be out in nature, to soak in the solitude of the stream and to leave behind the stress of the world, I find fulfillment. An afternoon of fly fishing always provides me with solace and a sense of peace.

I may still get frustrated when not a single fish rises. When that happens, I will try to remember the time I went fly fishing and left my rod behind. After I discovered that I could not fish, I decided to go hiking along the stream. I saw deer and ducks. I got stuck in “sinking mud,” almost becoming a permanent resident of the stream. I spent time outside, in nature, and I was able to look around, to relax and to appreciate the beauty of our world. And I learned that sometimes you do not need a rod and reel to have a great fly fishing trip.

The Fly Fishing Rabbi, Eric Eisenkramer


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I think the most frustrated I ever became when I first really started fly fishing. I pulled into the parking lot at Bennett Springs and begain to rig up. As I went to attach my leader to fly line I suddenly forgot how to tie a nail knot. I tried and tried and the dam thing just would not happen. After nearly 30 minutes of cussin ( under my breath of course) a young man pulled in accross from me and asked me if I would show him how to nail knot his leader to his fly line. I fell on the floor laughing like an idiot but darned if I didn't suddenly remember how to tie it. I got us both rigged up in no time and the young fella was grateful for the "expert help"

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Good points Rabbi.Fanatic I can relate to that.On a recent trip I was busting to fly fish some dry's and fly's that I had good luck on another trip.After taking my time packing,driving I arrived to find I left my Fly box[boxes] at home.I had changed my vest boxes for another trip to a warm water stream.Well I stayed calm,rooted thru my smally box and came up with some 1/16 white jigs.Turned out to be a good thing.Had one of the best day's of the year.Did'nt get to see a trout come up to slurp or slam my topwater but my rod was bent all day.Needless to say I thew a couple big white jigs in my fly box.......just in case.Yes sometimes you just got to go with the flow.

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Or getting a trip cancelled is a frustration. Any day fishing is better than a day of work!

"Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously."

Hunter S. Thompson

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I guess my frustration ends when I remember it's called "fishing"....not "catching".

Actually there's not much frustration at all! Being outside, hip deep in cool water and amoung folks that are, for the most part, pretty good folks! That's why we moved here in the first place. Hey, let's go fishing!!!!!

If you liked the sound....Thank the engineer!

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It is possible to get frustrated fishing?? :huh1:

I always thought of fishing as the one thing I can do, all day long, without getting tired or bored. Think about it can you name one thing that you would rather do all day long than fishing?

I would rather be fishin'.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." Benjamin Franklin, 1759

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