Last year I took up fly fishing. The photo above is me and Duber Winters, a guide and Orvis store manager, casting into the Rose River. Duber helped me catch a rainbow trout on that chilly day in March–my first fish caught on a fly.
Though I shouldn’t say “my,” since I got so much help that day.
Another reason not to say “my” is a dawning realization that probably comes early in most angling careers: fly fishing is a vehicle for stepping outside of oneself and melding with nature.
The rush of water against the waders, the interplay of insects, branches, and rocks, and the imperative to mimic the dance of river life — in each of these ways, fly fishing brings the angler into a focused yet transcendent state of mind. It’s a practice that combines sport, artistry, and meditation.
No wonder fly-fishers have the reputation as being good ecological stewards while also being secretive and territorial. Cold and clean water + solitude = good. Global warming + too many anglers on the river = bad. For this reason, conscientious anglers possess an ethical code that helps nature and respects others.
In my day fishing with Duber, I got the strong sense that he guides and fishes with these values in mind.