First Fish

…..Fall leaves so bright among the evergreen trees that they look like flames running rampant in the forest. Blue skies with only a few puffy clouds to mark the abrupt contrast of colors and a pair of hawks that seem to fly effortlessly inside of a panorama that is so amazingly simple to look at but perhaps more complicated than we are as yet able to understand.
  A light fall breeze brushes across the lake as we release the straps holding our red canoe to the roof and get set to lower it to the ground. I set up two fly rods and set them in the canoe along with paddles, life jackets and assorted fishing gear. I take up my paddle and we silently move from the shore to begin our journey into the unknown. Oh, this is not the first time on the water for me nor is flyfishing a recent interest in my life, but in the front of our craft is an eleven year old boy, also known as my son, and this is HIS first time on the lake, any lake. He was a motorcycle racer, RC car competitor, airplane and drone pilot with an affinity for long bicycle rides and a budding interest in track and field. While he has always professed an interest in fishing he has, until recently, been unwilling to miss anything he loves to do for the sake of fly fishing. For whatever reason, he let me know that he was willing to try it. I have explained more than once what fly fishing is really about to him. How it is more about going fishing than it is about catching. Not everyone understands this, but there are those that do “get it.”  Twenty minutes into our journey he says: “dad, this is so…….peaceful.” No fish yet, but already I am of the mind that he “gets it.”
  Not long after this revelation he gets couple of small tugs on his line and soon after he has his first trout bending the rod. While I am working hard to not coach him (it’s his experience to have, not mine) I notice that he is almost expressionless. He is tending to business in his calm and quiet manner, not understanding that the fish may have caught him instead, he leads the fish into my waiting net. I remove the fly and release the trout. He seem quiet, not in any particular hurry to get the fly back into the water, like he knows the day is only getting started and there are more fish to catch. And there are more, and he does catch them. After a few more fish to hand he begins to sort things out and starts forming opinions about where the best spots are and why. And while some of it is nothing but youthful speculation, there is some insight there. It is as if that first fish had indeed caught him, and has made him use his ability to reason and put things together. This is life, and he may have found a quiet place to learn and reflect while on his journey.
  Life has always been a chore and a joy. Having a special place to rest makes the next day’s path a bit easier to walk. Powerful stuff that we all should learn sometime, no matter how old you are. It’s not the fish, it’s the fishing….
    And thank you son, for taking me with you.

J.M. Jones

Posted by Jack on 10/15 at 07:53 PM in (0) CommentsPermalink
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