October 22 – Northport – Sunday –
I head out, but just into the bay, tossing flies at the wall and then Duck Island. I swapped the fly rod for a spinner with a popper a few times. The net result was one striper.
As I am going through the process though, I am thinking why is this not relaxing me? Here I am on this great boat in this amazing bay, lucky to live in this town and the weather and tide being perfect – and I am uptight.
Sue had mentioned that Thursday was the first time she heard me admit to being frustrated about not catching fish. I told her that isn’t really the case. I understand not catching fish, it is not seeing any that has me stymied.
She has me thinking – am I resentful about it? I don’t think so but I do have a fair amount of tension going through my veins as I stand here doing what I love to do. I tell myself that after the next cast I will sit down and think about it. I blow the cast and make another – driven? I guess.
I sit, for a short while, as the boat drifts. A thought comes to me: The tension is due to a few things. One is positioning the boat and seeing that it is safe yet in a fishable orientation and constantly having to adjust it. Looking fore and aft, port and starboard continuously while casting and retrieving. This can make one tense. I think about how nice it is when someone else is operating the boat or when on the beach.
Then I remember being tense when fishing on the beach as well. So I sit some and think more about this.
Each time I cast and retrieve I believe a fish will bite. I do. I believe it deep inside of me and it gets me excited. I visualize the hit, recall previous experiences, and the adrenalin builds – so with each cast I put myself in “fight” mode (as in fight or flight) and it makes me edgy. That’s it!
A deep secret revealed – fishing isn’t supposed to be relaxing or boring or calming – it is about the hit and the connection and the outcome and the belief that it is all about to happen again, even when it doesn’t 100 times in a row. Mystery solved.
Fishing doesn’t relax you, it consumes you. It blocks out all of the other things that usually consume you or irritate you or bother you or worry you and in that sense it is the Nirvana that we all seek – that place where there is no bad – only good, and it is about to happen again – cast 101, cast 102…
I love fishing.
(I love all kinds of fishing – check out the Letters to Mack series to get an idea of just how much.)