Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Very Sure About Certain Matters."

He walked and whistled bird songs in step, upon a four count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. He would catch his trout on dries, he said...that's all I brought. And I admired that -- his confidence, and his integrity. He has standards, this man...the trout will come to him. They will rise, and they will want him. 

I on the other hand, was prepared to cast a wet or a dry, or even in fact, drop both. I felt desperate -- like one of those women with juicy written across her. Easy. She'll go for whatever. And my parents had taught me better.

So standing in a backcountry lake at sunset, I rigged a dry...and hoped. 

Yet as I watched this man, and as I watched trout after trout rise and take his dry, I wondered about the "good things," as Maclean would say, in front of me. The trout, the salvation by a dry fly, the grace -- the art. These things, they don't come easy. And these trout weren't either -- wading into a baptismal of glacial melt is a hard doctrine to swallow. But the good things in life never should come easy, and I know that art never does. In that, I have confidence. And this art in life that rest on a hope -- on the hope of a rise -- is beauty. And waiting on that hope -- is integrity.

I wondered again, as I looked at this man and his dry fly and the splash of a take in the evening's last light, whether all that really matters is the confidence you have in your hope...


  1. Beautifully written..I sense a double meaning. Integrity is a character trait missing in many a man.

    I stand on a rock and have a hope, salvation, and grace in a Fish :-)

    Erin, keep faith in both the seen and unseen.


  2. Well, this may not fit in exactly, Erin, but I didn't live to by my ripe age while pleasing everyone. So...I have fished, and fly fished, for right on 60 years. My Dad, my fishing mentor, said "It's all fishing, whether on not it's with my Montague bamboo, or a steel telescopic bait rod." While I do fish with flies the vast majority of the time, and I have more fly fishing experience than most would be comfortable with, I don't consider it a path to or an example of integrity. Does it make me a better person if I cast a fly, rather than toss out a worm under a bobber? If so, no one has noticed.
    It's all fishing, and good to me. I fish because I enjoy it, and it does bring peace sometimes, but my life is still there when I finish and go home.
    So, this is not intended as a criticism of any sort. Just how I view the sport we love.

  3. Definitely my favorite post of yours thus far... and I'm not ashamed to say I'm a big fan of A River Runs Through It.

  4. sgb - I will. :)

    Mike - "It's all fishing, whether on not it's with my Montague bamboo, or a steel telescopic bait rod." I couldn't agree with you more. I always enjoy your thoughts and comments...thank you for taking the time.

    Jay - Many thanks...I'm glad to hear it. And, I loved A River Runs Through It (the book) before I ever loved fly fishing.

  5. There is a sneaky way to catch fish with dries above 10,000'. Seems to me like he knew the secret. ...or he is just a bad ass.

    Loved the comment about Juicy and how you related that to fishing a dropper rig. Classic!

  6. backcountryfishnerd - I'd never fished with him before....but yeah, I think he's just bad ass...and a very classy guy. It was the start of classes at CU this week (where I work), thus I've seen way, way, way too much female flesh...desperate women were on my mind. ;)

  7. Erin, good words and a single photo to compliment them.. very nice

  8. I am thrilled when read this, I began to fly fishing with this movie...
    In this epoch, in Spain there was no almost any information.
    A bit later I read the book, and its the beauty in words.
    One year ago edit the book in Spanish, you can see it here:

  9. Quiet confidence. I can only hope I get there as an old man. Great post!

  10. "I wondered again, as I looked at this man and his dry fly and the splash of a take in the evening's last light, whether all that really matters is the confidence you have in your hope..."

    Pretty much, and Will, it does come with age.

  11. Hope keeps you going or makes you do insane things. Like cast 500 times to a big fish you had on for 3 seconds and now probably won't hit for the rest of the day.

  12. Travis - Many thanks!

    Carlos - Ah, I am glad you were thrilled! I too loved the book, and then loved the movie, and then the book again. It's great you've found a Spanish edition too! Cheers!

    Will - I can only hope I get there an old woman. Thanks!

    Ken G. - I'm looking forward to aging then...

    Kev - That just might be the perfect definition of hope you wrote....right there...

  13. Confidence and luck are the greatest baits, both take years to acquire.

  14. Dave - You know, I've never minded getting older...and now I'm looking forward to it...

  15. The places you have been fishing are completely stunning. We don't have that kind of scenery in Illinois. Loving the photos.

  16. Outstanding read once again! I sure love the splash of the take!! Hope to see you next month...

  17. Confidence is a great thing to have when you are out there "doing it" also is the realisation that sometimes the fish just are not having it today!

    Who do you measure yourself against, the man who catches everytime or the man who enjoys himself everytime, the two do not always go hand in hand :):)

    Spot on as ever Erin.

  18. "He has standards, this man...the trout will come to him. They will rise, and they will want him."

    ...a beautifully written account of what I believe, most of us are trying to attain in this often desperate business of fly fishing.

    Well done...once again :-)

  19. I'm aged and still waiting for that wisdom and hope you describe so well.

  20. I can see I'm gonna learn a lot from you and your blog , Erin.

    Brill pics.

  21. Hope is all we have. Nicely written!

  22. Justin - I grew up in Nebraska and Iowa, and I try to never take for granted the scenery I now have; although strangely, I do miss cornfields. :)

    River Damsel - Thank you, and keep me updated on the September gathering!

    Tom - I measure myself against the latter :) Many thanks!

    Sanders - Thank you! And I still feel somewhat desperate!

    Cofisher - It will come...that is what I keep telling myself...

    Chris - Thanks for stopping by and for following! I'm just learning along too...

    Anonymous - Thank you, thank you!

  23. Part of my job is to train wetland biologists. We talk about technical competence, of course. You have to know what the hell you are talking about.

    But you also have to have confidence, or no one else will pay attention to what you have to say.

    As you may have read, I've struggled with this in my fishing off and on for a long time. This year, it's been a struggle because my skill continues to increase, which accompanies (usually) a hunt for fewer and bigger fish.....which can lead to an awfully frustrating day (sounds like your post).

    Nothing Juicy about that.

  24. River Mud - It really is circularly frustrating, isn't it. Your skills increase, and the fishing only eternally gets harder...